Tuberculosis, like COVID-19, is transmitted through the air from person to person. But unlike COVID-19, in which new weekly cases can count in the thousands, in New Jersey there were only 292 new cases of tuberculosis were registered last year, a decrease of more than 70% after 982 cases of tuberculosis in the country in 1992.

The 2021 count is good news, but in celebration of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, the New Jersey Department of Health underscores its continued commitment to supporting education, disease control and prevention.

Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but can also affect the brain, kidneys or spine. People with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of getting sick, including infants and children, as well as people with diseases such as HIV or diabetes.

“Although significant progress has been made in the fight against the disease, continued efforts and commitment are needed to finally eradicate tuberculosis,” said Judith Persicili, commissioner of the State Department of Health. “The department remains committed to our efforts to support local and regional TB control programs in our state.”

The theme of this year’s TB Day is “Invest in TB Elimination. Save a life. ” Last year, the department allocated $ 3.7 million in state and federal funding to the local health department’s TB control programs. This includes $ 2.9 million awarded to six regional TB clinics located in the counties of Bergen, Camden, Essex, Goodson, Middlesex and Morris, which provide services to all residents. The system of regional TB clinics provides clinical assessment, treatment, prevention and epidemiological services in conjunction with district and municipal health departments.

March 24 marks the date in 1882, when Dr. Robert Koch shared his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

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