Graphic via the World Health Organization
Each year, we recognize World TB Day on March 24. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), the bacillus (bacteria) that causes tuberculosis.
TB usually affects the lungs and if left untreated can lead to serious illness or death. Thankfully, TB can be cured with medication in the form of antibiotics.
World TB Day is a day to educate the public about the ongoing impact of TB around the world, including in Canada.
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Why is TB important?
Historically, TB has had major impact on First Nations people. It was a significant cause of death, illness and trauma associated with the Residential School and TB Sanatorium systems.
Even today, TB rates remain higher for First Nations people when compared to the general population. TB is an ongoing issue in communities because of latent TB infection, the inactive, “sleeping" version of TB that does not show symptoms or sickness, but still requires treatment.
Healing includes many aspects, such as food, relationships, culture, medicines, exercise, and prevention of diseases, including TB.
How does someone get TB?
When a person has TB disease, germs in their lungs can spread to others through the air when the infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or even sings. If you breathe in those germs, you may also become infected.
What are the symptoms of TB?
If you have TB Disease, you will usually feel sick with some of the following symptoms:
Resource: Symptoms of TB Disease
The Canadian Tuberculosis Standards 8th Edition will be released on March 24 from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The FNHA TB Team is working on two new resources for community health nurses and community members with Latent TB Infection and Active TB Disease. Look for these new resources coming out over the next year.