Washington, DC, March 24, 2020 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the voice of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, released the following statement in observance of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24, 2020. This year seven local health departments and staff were named as U.S. TB Elimination Champions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in recognition of their innovative efforts to test and treat TB disease and latent TB infection in their communities. World TB Day celebrates the successes in Tuberculosis prevention and control and raise awareness of the remaining barriers to TB elimination.
“We applaud the local health departments and staff chosen for these awards for their enduring work to protect their communities and advance the goal of TB elimination,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA, NACCHO’s Chief Executive Officer. “Tuberculosis remains a leading cause of preventable infectious disease deaths worldwide and requires strong public health infrastructure to maintain adequate elimination and control measures.
Local health departments are on the frontlines of combatting this disease— treating individuals infected, tracking and monitoring the spread of the disease, and testing people at high risk of infection. This work often goes unsung, but is critical to improve the outcomes for individuals and improve the health of the community overall. Congratulations to the seven local health departments honored as TB Elimination Champions and thank you to all public health professionals for your work to eliminate TB each and every day.”
CDC estimates that public health efforts over the last 20 years have prevented as many as 300,000 people from developing TB disease. From 2018 to 2019, the national TB case rate decreased by 1.6%. While the number of reported TB cases in the U.S. has been decreasing, the pace of decline has been slowing and our current strategies must evolve to achieve TB elimination in this century. Screening for and treating latent TB infection (LTBI) is critical to achieving TB elimination as over 80% of U.S. TB cases result from progression of untreated LTBI, a condition that affects up to 13 million people in the U.S. New CDC guidelines for treating LTBI recommend shorter treatment regimens for most people living in the U.S.
NACCHO’s National Profile of Local Health Departments found that tuberculosis screening and treatment are two of the most frequently provided direct services by local health departments and we work to support local health departments in this critical work. For example, NACCHO has developed a TB Prevention and Control Policy statement, facilitated a National Stakeholder Consultation TB Meeting, and has conducted case studies to highlight collaborations between LHDs and community health centers to address TB screening and treatment. Two of this year’s TB Elimination Champions health departments were featured in a case study project conducted by NACCHO.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.