American Lung Association in California Celebrates World TB Day

Los Angeles, CA (March 24, 2011)

(Los Angeles, CA, March 24, 2011) - The American Lung Association in California celebrates World TB Day on March 24 with a kick-off of the Tuberculosis (TB) Coalition of Los Angeles County on Thursday, March 24 at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles. The event aims to establish a communication network and information exchange among key agencies involved in the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis in Los Angeles County. The TB Coalition of Los Angeles County includes the American Lung Association in California, TB Control Program of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc., and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

The goal of the Tuberculosis Coalition of Los Angeles County is to completely eradicate this deadly disease by fully informing the public on how best to diagnose, prevent, manage, and treat tuberculosis. In addition to the March 24 event, the coalition is also holding a lecture called “TB Screening, A New Era” on May 18 to discuss new tests for detecting tuberculosis.

“Over a century ago, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the United States,” says Jane Warner, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. “Through research, education, and treatment, the American Lung Association successfully reduced the number of cases and was instrumental in leading prevention efforts against the disease.”

Tuberculosis continues to be a public health threat in the United States with nearly 13,000 cases reported during 2008. This is the lowest recorded number of cases since the U.S. began reporting in 1953. California has seen improvements in the efforts to manage and treat tuberculosis with cases in Los Angeles County alone declining from nearly 2,000 in 1994 to 706 in 2009.

"Our efforts to identify and treat those with tuberculosis have been met with remarkable success over the past decade. However, serious challenges remain," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "Over this same period we have seen 105 cases of multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis as well as many exposed individuals who need to be tested. Nonetheless, through timely identification and careful attention to completing all courses of medication, we can make progress toward eradicating this feared disease."

Despite these improvements, tuberculosis is still a risk to vulnerable populations such as people with immune deficiencies like HIV, cancer, diabetes, and substance abuse problems. Foreign-born citizens and homeless people are also considered vulnerable to this disease.

To RSVP for both events, please contact Jennifer Paul at (213) 384-5864 or jpaul@alac.org.