The Utah Department of Health has issued a warning to Utahns: Tuberculosis has not been wiped out.
There were 22,750 active reported cases in the United States in 1987. Through the month of August this year, there have been 18 such cases in Utah. A total of 16 cases were reported in the state last year."TB is still a problem in Utah and the public can help eliminate it by being informed," said Toni Gobble, TB coordinator for the state health department. And because so many are uninformed about the disease, Gov. Norman Bangerter has declared October `TB Awareness Month."
The infectious disease is caused by the tubercle bacillus that commonly affects the lungs. However, Gobble says in about 15 percent of the patients, TB affects the kidneys, bone, liver, and other organs and tissue. The disease affects men and women, young and old and killed more than 8,500 Americans in 1986.
Gobble estimates that 10 million to 15 million Americans are infected and, without preventive therapy, are at lifelong risk of developing the disease. As many as one in 10 infected persons may develop the disease. About 90 percent of all new cases in the United States come from this group.
The health official said the test for TB is a relatively simple skin test that, in infected persons, produces a local inflammatory reaction within two to four days. Symptoms of active tuberculosis include weight loss, fever, productive cough and night sweats. It can strike anyone.
Gobble said Utah TB patients include a two-year-old boy with TB of the lymph nodes and a 35-year-old lung TB case.