Tuberculosis is an airborne communicable disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is spread primarily by tiny airborne particles that are expelled by a person who has active TB. If another person inhales air containing these particles, transmission may occur.
Individuals who are infected but who do not have active TB disease do not have symptoms and are not infectious. Those who have TB infection will usually have a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test. Individuals with TB disease may be infectious and spread the infection to others.
About 10% of infected individuals will develop TB disease at some point in life. The risk increases for those who have suppressed immune system. The immune system may become weakened due to poor nutrition, stress, substance abuse, HIV infection, age (the very young and the elderly), and individuals with other medical conditions.
The Manchester Health Department has provided community TB control activities for over 50 years. The components of the TB program are described below:
TB Case Management for Preventive Therapy
Case management is provided for all clients with TB infection that is reported to the Manchester Health Department. Community health nurses visit or initiate phone contact once per month with clients who are on preventive therapy for TB infection. One-to-one contact provides an opportunity for the nurse to assess the client for any adverse reactions to the medication and to ensure compliance with the treatment regime.
TB Case Management for Active Disease
All Manchester residents with active TB disease are reported to the Manchester Health Department. The community health nursing staff initiates immediate surveillance activities and a contact investigation. Comprehensive case management is provided for the client until the prescribed medication regime is completed.
Non-adherence to the medication regime is a major barrier to successful TB control activities. One way to ensure compliance is to provide directly observed therapy (DOT). DOT means the health care worker or another designated person watches the client swallow each dose of TB medication. Directly observed therapy is provided for all Manchester residents with active TB.
Presentations for public education on TB are available to community groups and agencies, schools, colleges and health care providers. Please call 624-6466 for information.
The Manchester Health Department serves clients from many diverse cultures and ethnic groups. In order to assist with client understanding of TB the following booklet has been developed and is available in Arabic, Bosnian, English, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. This presentation is best viewed using Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher. Click the movie camera on the bottom right of the presentation to start the slide show. Then proceed to click on the picture to move to the next slide. Click on the bulls eye target on the last page to return to this introduction page.