Mar. 20, 1997 March 19, 1997
Contact: Jordan Gruener CONTACT: Jordan Gruener
National Jewish Medical and Research Center Promotes Tuberculosis Awareness Through Continued Treatment and Research on World TB Day, March 24
This year 3 million people in the world will die of tuberculosis (TB). Nearly 100 years ago, the deaths caused by TB were a driving force in the creation of National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. In the late 1800s, TB was the leading cause of death in the United States and the world. In the following decades, the disease was controlled with new drug therapies.
But TB is on the rise again. In the next 10 years, more than 300 million people will be infected with tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO sponsors World Tuberculosis Day, Monday, March 24.
National Jewish continues to lead the TB eradication effort in the United States and worldwide with innovative treatment and research programs. WHO now recognizes Directly Observed Treatment (DOTS), developed in Denver with the assistance of National Jewish, as the primary way to control TB. Patients make "contracts" with physicians to take TB medication on certain days of the week at a clinic, home or office under supervision. Prior to DOTS, people treated for TB were on their own to stay on the medical regimen. When they stopped following prescription instructions, this led to outbreaks of TB and drug-resistant forms of the disease.
"Just like we don’t want people walking around shooting guns, society has said it doesn’t want untreated TB patients in schools and other settings where they can infect innocent people. We want to make sure the air is safe for people to breathe," explains Michael Iseman, M.D., chief of the National Jewish Clinical Mycobacteriology Service. "TB impacts the public in a significant way. All you have to do is breathe to get TB."
National Jewish’s involvement in TB education, treatment and research includes:
· The National Institutes of Health awarded National Jewish $2.78 million for the next four years to continue research into new ways to treat tuberculosis. One goal of the study is justification of an "ultra-short" treatment (3-4 months) with drugs taken twice a week instead of the current daily treatment that lasts 6 months or longer. The "ultra-short" approach has become feasible by using new "long-lasting" drugs of the rifamycin group. These drugs accumulate in tissue and are released steadily over time into the blood and other body fluids.
· Thousands of TB cases in the United States are diagnosed every year by National Jewish, which is home to one of the largest TB labs in the country. (National Jewish performs tests for more than 1,500 labs in the United States.) The Mycobacteriology Laboratory has an arsenal of high-tech testing devices to identify TB, from radio-labeling to a sophisticated test that measures the amount of carbon dioxide produced by growing bacteria. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a particularly difficult case, it invariably is sent to National Jewish. · The Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration has designated National Jewish as one of two centers to diagnose and interpret chest X-rays for people seeking to live in Canada. Five thoracic radiologists received special credentials to monitor Canadian X-rays for respiratory diseases, including TB. National Jewish will receive approximately 200 X-rays a week or 10,000 X-rays each year.
· National Jewish conducts the leading TB program in clinical education for physicians. Over the past 25 years, more than 250 clinicians have attended weeklong courses on the control, management and prevention of TB.
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