- High Contrast:
Below are the answers to the questions we've been Tweeting from @OntarioLung. The answers will be posted each day, so be sure to check back to see how much you know about this lung disease.
TB is preventable, treatable and curable. To find out more about TB, visit our TB information page or TB resources page.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Q1: True or False? The Cross of Lorraine in the @OntarioLung logo represents the crusade against TB.
A1: True – The Lung Association began in 1900 as the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Consumption and Other Forms of Tuberculosis. It became the Canadian Tuberculosis Association in 1922. After the introduction of antibiotics that could cure TB in the mid-1940s, the Association broadened its programs to include other lung diseases such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. In 1969 the name was changed to the Canadian Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association and was renamed the Canadian Lung Association in 1977. The Ontario Lung Association was incorporated in 1945. Today, in addition to the Canadian Lung Association, there are Lung Associations in all 10 provinces.
Q2: True or False? TB has been eradicated and is no longer a health concern.
A2: False – World-wide, more than 8 million people get active TB disease every year and 2 billion are infected with the TB germ. In Canada, about 1600 new cases of active TB disease are diagnosed each year. Approximately one-third of these occur in Ontario, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area.
Saturday, March 24
Q3: True or False? Most TB is drug-resistant these days.
A3: False – In Canada 91% of all TB cases are fully sensitive to all the first-line medications used to treat TB (2010 data). Of the 9% that are resistant to at least one of the first-line medications, most are resistant to only one (usually INH = isoniazid). Since TB drug resistance surveillance started in 1998, there have been 216 cases of MDR-TB in Canada, which is 1.2% of all isolates tested during that period. There have been a total of 5 XDR-TB cases diagnosed in Canada over the past decade. Drug resistance can develop from taking the wrong combination of medications, or not taking the medicines for long enough to cure the TB. However, a patient with infectious drug resistant TB can also pass it on to other people – who can then get sick with the same drug-resistant strain of TB. You can get more information about TB statistics for Canada at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tbpc-latb/index-eng.php
Q4: True or False? The crusade against TB laid the groundwork for Canada’s universal healthcare system.
A4: True – The fight against Tuberculosis became known as “The People’s Battle”. Only the rich could afford the extended recovery time so there were few options for the poor. In 1929, Saskatchewan offered free treatment for Tuberculosis patients. This move—a necessary move at the time—is credited with laying the groundwork for this country’s medicare system, introduced by Tommy Douglas 30 years later. The Lung Association, through its Christmas Seal campaign, helped every step of the way by funding Tuberculosis public education, research, training doctors and nurses and financing free clinics.
Monday, March 26
Q5: True or False? Smokers are more likely to develop TB than non-smokers.
A5: True – Smokers who have been exposed to TB are more likely to develop active TB disease than non-smokers. People with active TB who are smokers also tend te get sicker, and take longer to recover.
Q6: True or False? If you are an immigrant or refugee with TB, you will be deported.
A6: False – People cannot be deported for having TB!! However, anyone in Canada with TB must be treated, no matter what their immigration status. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will also not allow any changes in immigration status (eg from student visa to landed immigrant, or from immigrant to citizen) until TB treatment is complete. TB care and medications are free regardless of immigration status, because of the public health risk if TB patients go without treatment. Contact your local public health unit for more information.
Tuesday, March 27
Q7: True or False? No one dies from TB anymore.
A7: False – In 2010, 1.4 million people died from TB world-wide. Globally, TB causes more deaths than any other infectious disease. Drug-resistance makes TB even more deadly. Although TB is curable, it requires a lengthy course of treatment with several special medications, for at least 6 months. In Canada, almost everyone who gets sick with TB is cured. But even in Canada, about 9% of people diagnosed with TB die before treatment can start or shortly after. Most of these individuals also have multiple other serious medical problems; only about 1% of TB cases die directly because of their TB. Data source: Tuberculosis in Canada 2007, the latest published mortality figures. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tbpc-latb/pubs/tbcan07/index-eng.php
Q8: True or False? There are no more sanatoria in Ontario.
A8: False – West Park Healthcare Centre in Toronto (the old Toronto Sanitorium) still has a specialized 20-bed in-patient unit for people with TB; however the rest of the hospital has been for complex continuing care for many years. There are also out-patient TB clinics in Toronto (at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and The Hospital for Sick Children), Brampton (at the Brampton Civic Hospital), Hamilton, London and Ottawa.
WEDNesday, March 27
Q9: True or False? People with diabetes should have a TB assessment as part of their routine care.
A9: True – This is true, especially people with diabetes who were born outside Canada, or have lived in a First Nations reserve or Inuit community. Diabetes can weaken the immune system, making people more likely to develop some kinds of infections – including TB.
Q10: True or False? If you've had a BCG vaccine you can't catch TB
A10: False – Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine does not prevent infection effectively, especially not in adults. It does give some protection to babies against TB of the brain and disseminated TB, and may increase resistance to the TB germ somewhat. Because TB rates have been falling in Canada for many decades, BCG was dropped from the routine vaccination schedule here in the 1970s. Now it is only used routinely for babies born in remote northern communities where there continue to be higher rates of TB, and babies might be exposed to an infectious case.
THURSDAY, MARCH 28
Q11: True or False? You can catch TB more than once.
A11: True - However this happens only rarely. It may happen a little more often in parts of the world such as southern Africa and other places where TB rates (and thus the possibility of being re-exposed) are very high.
Q12: True or False? Coughing up blood is a symptom of active TB disease.
A12: True - Coughing up blood is usually a sign of advanced active TB disease. Other signs and symptoms include a cough for more than 2 weeks, fever, loss of appetite, night sweats, weight loss or a lump, often on the side of the neck.
The Ontario Lung Association (OLA) has TB resources for healthcare professionals and the public. The OLA TB Committee will present a conference for health professionals, TB: Making a Difference on November 19-20, 2012 at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. Program details will be available soon.
World TB Day was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness and mobilize support in the fight against TB. On March 24, 1882, Robert Koch announced that he had isolated and grown the tubercle bacillus, which he believed to be the cause of all forms of tuberculosis (TB). World TB Day is held each year in commemoration of Koch’s discovery, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1905.