Tuberculosis Cases in Some Areas of Contra Costa Down, Report Shows
Community outreach reduced the number of tuberculosis cases in some areas of Richmond and San Pablo last year, but the number of new cases has increased in other parts of Contra Costa County, according to a recent report from the county's health department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Three ZIP codes in Richmond and San Pablo experienced a surge of cases in 2001, which prompted Contra Costa health officials to establish educational and community-outreach programs, provide Spanish-language shows on local cable stations, distribute questionnaires and run a mobile health clinic to screen those who live with someone who might have been exposed to the illness.
In addition, the county formed an advisory committee that discussed with doctors and hospitals how to improve TB diagnosis and strengthen communication efforts.
According to the report, the efforts led to a 78% decrease in the number of new cases in those communities over the last three years, Charles Crane, medical director of Contra Costa's tuberculosis program, said. In 2004, a record low of 13 cases were reported in Richmond and San Pablo -- down from 28 in 2003. Officials said a county decrease from 82 cases in 2003 to 64 last year is in large part because of successes in Richmond and San Pablo.
However, as outreach efforts increased in West County, the disease spread throughout central and eastern areas of the county, according to the report.
"We must now increasingly turn our attention to those other areas," Crane said (Fulbright, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/18). The report is available online. Note: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.