Oklahoma City, OK – Before COVID-19, tuberculosis (TB) was the world’s predominant infectious disease, claiming the lives of more than 1.5 million people each year. The Oklahoma State Department of Health Tuberculosis Division will host a walking tuberculosis education break around downtown Oklahoma City at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 24 (World TB Day).
“World TB Day is an opportunity to recognize achievements in TB prevention and control, and renew our commitment to eliminating this devastating disease in Oklahoma,” TB Program Manager Amy Hill said. “Too many Oklahomans still suffer from TB. Efforts to improve awareness, testing, and treatment – particularly among groups at high risk – are critical to eliminating the disease in Oklahoma and the U.S.”
The World TB Day Walk n’ Talk is free and open to the public. The walking route will begin in the lobby of The Commons at Strata Tower (former Sandridge Center), located at 123 Robert S. Kerr Ave., move through downtown to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, and return to Strata Tower (total distance approx. one mile). An information station will be set up in the lobby, with Tuberculosis Division staff available to answer any questions. Participants are encouraged to wear red for TB awareness.
Oklahoma currently ranks #25 in the U.S. for TB disease. There were 69 reported cases of TB in Oklahoma in 2021.
TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body, such as the kidneys, spine and brain. TB spreads from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
Anyone can get TB. People at greater risk are: family members, friends, and coworkers who share the same air space with the person who has TB disease of the lungs. Others at risk include the elderly, homeless, inmates, nursing home residents, alcoholics, injection drug users, people with medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS), other immunosuppressed conditions which include cancer, and people who are chronically malnourished.
Contact TB Program Manager Amy Hill at (405) 213-8707 or AmyH@health.ok.gov for more information.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.