The Florida Department of Health announces historic lows for tuberculosis (TB) incidence statewide. For four consecutive years, annual cases of active TB have declined by nearly 29 percent. This news means more residents are able to lead healthy lives in the Sunshine State, a commitment the department continually strives to fulfill.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

“The decline in active tuberculosis cases in Florida over the past four years reflects our statewide commitment to eliminating tuberculosis though a community-based system of care,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “29 percent fewer cases translates to protecting hundreds of Floridians from illness and making communities healthier.”

Tuberculosis is caused by an organism called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The organism usually attacks the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain. TB is curable, but if not treated properly can be fatal.

The last peak of TB cases in Florida occurred in 2010 when 833 cases were reported statewide. In 2014 the number of TB cases dropped to 595 across the state. The department works to continue the steady decline of TB cases in Florida by providing leadership and assuring those who have TB receive coordinated care in line with the Florida System of TB Care guidelines.

The Florida System of TB Care outlines a model for the treatment of TB that is both patient-centered and community-based. The objective is to ensure effective TB prevention efforts for patients with latent TB infection and treatment-until-cure for TB disease. Both efforts are critical in the eradication of this disease.