TB Outbreak in Washington State Worries Health Officials
How are you feeling? Did you know the Washington State Department of Health is on heightened alert as Washington state is now under its largest tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in the last 20 years, with a 22% jump in cases from 2020 to 2021 with 199 cases and 70 reported cases so far this year.
The cases are growing in western not eastern Washington State
A majority of the cases are being reported in western Washington with King, Pierce and Snohomish counties seeing the biggest numbers. KING 5 TV in Seattle reports that most people who get infected develop what's called latent TB which means there's no symptoms and are not contagious. The Department of Health says about 200,000 people in the state have inactive TB.
Look for symptoms if you're not feeling good
According to State health department officials those with active TB see symptoms which include coughing with or without blood, chest pain, fever, night sweats, weight loss and tiredness. Officials at the Yakima County Health District say "TB can be cured with medication, but it takes 6 to 9 months to treat. Without proper treatment about half the people with this disease will remain sick and may die. However, not everyone infected with TB will get sick and spread the germ to other people"
So how do you prevent TB?
Yakima health officials say the best way to prevent TB disease is to know your risk, get tested by your healthcare provider if you are at risk, and take medicine if you have latent TB infection."
The Yakima Health District does not provide TB testing to the general public, but you can get testing from your primary care provider.