Tuberculosis (TB) – Not Just a Third World Disease

March 21, 2014

Huron County, ON – March 24 is World TB Day and while much focus is on eliminating tuberculosis in developing countries, the Huron County Health Unit wants people to take notice here as well.

“It’s probably surprising to people, but yes, we do occasionally see active cases of TB in Huron and area counties,” says Public Health Nurse Susan Hart. “We haven’t had an active case of TB for two years, but we know there are Huron County residents who carry the bacteria known to cause TB infections.”

Hart says in today’s world we are a global community. “Everyone has travelled or knows someone who has travelled internationally. They may be exposed elsewhere and bring it home, so we need to pay attention to this disease here. Years ago it was called consumption and many of our older residents will remember when it was more common here.”

TB is caused by bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can affect your lungs or other parts of your body such as brain, lymph nodes or kidneys.

The germs can lie dormant or asleep. This is called TB infection. These germs do not make you sick and cannot be passed on to other people. Active TB disease causes sickness when the germs multiply, causing damage in the body. People with active TB disease can spread the germs to others.

Infection is spread when the germ enters your body through the air you breathe. TB is most often spread to people who spend a lot of time with a person who has active TB disease in their lungs. People most at risk are those living in the same house, going to school or working with someone who has active TB disease.

Symptoms of TB include a cough lasting at least three weeks, fatigue, fever, weight loss, and night sweats.

A skin test can tell whether TB germs are in your body. Hart says you should consider having the test if you have travelled to a country of high TB incidence, if you are at risk due to your work environment (hospital, long-term care, correctional, shelter staff and volunteers) or have HIV infection.

TB disease is preventable, treatable and curable.


…Creating Healthy Communities Together…


Our media contact is: Barbara Leavitt, Huron County Health Unit, 519-482-3416, ext 2289

Our spokesperson on this topic is: Susan Hart, Public Health Nurse



For more information contact:

Susan Cronin, County Clerk
519.524.8394 (ext 3257)