Commissioners Court Proclaims World TB Day in Hays County
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – The Hays County Commissioners Court has proclaimed March 24 as World TB Day in Hays County to encourage residents to understand the severity of this extremely contagious disease in Hays County. The theme of World TB Day is “United to End TB.”
“We look forward to the day when we can celebrate the eradication of the disease and end this public health menace,” TB Nurse Case Manager/Communicable Disease Coordinator Iris Barrera, R.N., of the County’s Local Health Department, told the Court.
The TB bacteria is spread through the air from person to person through coughing, sneezing, speaking and singing. People nearby can breathe in these bacteria and may become infected. There are two types of TB conditions, latent TB infection and TB disease.
According to Barrera, in 2016 50 people in Hays County were identified and treated by Local Health staff, while others in various stages of the disease were sent for treatment elsewhere. In 2015 more than 1,300 people in Texas were diagnosed with TB disease, with 63 of them from counties bordering Hays County.
“One third of the world’s population has a TB infection, latent or active, and those with active cases are capable of spreading the disease,” she said. “Many of the world’s poor do not have the medication, health insurance or access to health care that they need to treat the disease, and many others at all socio-economic levels are misinformed about the symptoms, prevention and cure for TB.”
TB bacteria can live in the body without making you sick. This is called latent TB infection. In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB bacteria to others. If TB bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will go from having latent TB infection to being sick with TB disease.
People with TB disease usually have symptoms and may spread TB bacteria to others. Symptoms may include a bad cough lasting three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum (mucus from deep inside the lungs) and may be accompanied by weakness or fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, chills, fever or sweating a night.
Left to right, County Judge Bert Cobb, M.D., Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones, Local Health Department Director Clint Garza, Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, Local Health Department TB Program Nurse/Communicable Disease Case Manager Iris Barrera, R.N., and Wilma Lewter, National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA); Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant.