Tuberculosis continues to be a public health problem in the United States with over 20,000 cases reported annually. Since 1984, we have not seen the decline in morbidity expected. In fact, there has been a substantial increase in tuberculosis morbidity in areas with a higher prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. In addition to persons with HIV infection, persons at particularly high risk of developing tuberculosis include those with close contact known infectious tuberculosis cases; persons with other medical risk factors known to substantially increase the risk of tuberculosis once infection has occurred; foreign-born persons from high prevalence countries (e.g. those from Asia, Africa and Latin America); medically under served low-income population; alcoholics and intravenous drug users; residents of long-term facilities, such as correctional institutions and nursing homes.
Currently with available chemotherapy, tuberculosis can be cured and infection can be prevented from developing the disease. Anti-tuberculosis medication and effective tuberculosis elimination programs can reduce the number of cases of disease and their spread of infection. The Texas Department of Health Tuberculosis Program has its goal the eventual elimination of tuberculosis disease in Texas by:
- Identification and treatment of tuberculosis.
- Identification and prevention of tuberculosis infection from progression into disease
- Protection of non-infected individuals from becoming infected
To achieve these goals, the tuberculosis elimination program organized under three categories
- Surveillance: identifying cases of tuberculosis infection
- Containment: Ensuring the necessary care and treatment for those diseased, infected and exposed to disease through Directly Observed Therapy and Directly Observed Preventive Therapy
- Program Management and Assessment: Reviewing the performance of the program and revising programs to meet new needs or to become more effective