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El Paso Department of Public Health Recognized as ‘TB Elimination Champion’

As health agencies around the globe commemorate World TB Day on March 24, 2016, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health’s Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention program is being recognized as a TB Elimination Champion by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After presenting the CDC with a list of best practices and success stories in the borderland, the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination presented the distinction in honor of the program’s commitment and continuing efforts to improving public health.

“This award could not come at a better time for our staff,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “Our employees have spent more than a year investigating high-profile TB cases and working with hundreds of local and international partners who join us in our commitment to end TB. We share this recognition with our state and regional partners, along with the patients, caretakers and parents we have seen over the past several years, who have cooperated with us to help make this a reality.”

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser has proclaimed March 24, 2016 World TB Day in El Paso, and the Department of Public Health is also co-sponsoring a Binational Community TB Forum on this date at EPCC Administrative Service Center (9050 Viscount, Building A) It will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Currently, there are approximately 265 Latent TB (infection) patients and 38 individuals with active TB overseen by the DPH in the El Paso region. Tuberculosis remains at epidemic levels in many parts of the world and millions of people die each year from the disease.

Despite the discovery of the TB bacteria more than one hundred years ago, Mycobacterium tuberculosis continues to infect a vast number of the world’s population. Today, an uncomplicated TB case treatment consists of four-medicinal cocktails referred to as “Ripe therapy.” Drug resistant TB cases require a longer course of treatment and different medical protocols.

Symptoms of TB range from a prolonged cough, an elevated temperature, significant weight loss, night sweats, and sputum production with possible blood content. When a person comes in direct contact with an active case and acquires the infection but not the disease, it is called latent TB.

The TB germs are dormant but may activate in the future causing active TB. Tests to determine a patient’s status in regards to TB may range from a skin test or blood test to an x-ray and a patient history.

If you think you have TB symptoms or have had contact with an active TB case, or if you live or work in a large-group setting, please contact the Health Department for an evaluation. More information can be found by visiting www.EPHealth.com

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