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Toronto unites to end TB on World TB Day

Mar 24, 2017

In honour of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, 2017, The Lung Association, members of its TB Committee, Toronto Public Health Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Program, other health professionals and patient advocates came together in Toronto’s quest to Unite to End TB. The event, held at Nathan Philips Square, was a show of solidarity to acknowledge World TB Day and to join as a community to increase awareness, decrease stigma and promote TB elimination in our city and around the world.

The Lung Association strongly supports this movement, as our history began with Tuberculosis. We were originally founded in 1900 under the name The Canadian Association for the Prevention of Consumption and Other Forms of Tuberculosis.

At that time, we were one of Canada’s first voluntary health organizations whose goal was to provide facilities for the care of TB patients. And TB was the leading cause of death, outranking all other diseases, famine and war.

TB, put simply, is a disease caused by a germ which enters the body through the air you breathe and causes an infection, usually in the lungs, but sometimes in other parts of the body.

Although the TB rate has declined, it is still an issue here in this country. A Canadian is diagnosed with TB every 6 hours. Every week we lose two Canadians to TB-associated deaths.

TB continues to be a public health concern specifically in Ontario. More TB cases are diagnosed in Ontario than any other province. Ottawa, Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area are Ontario’s most TB affected cities.

Although the TB rate has declined, Ontario faces new challenges in TB prevention and control. There is a large pool of latent TB cases among the elderly, people living with HIV and those who come from or travel to regions where TB is endemic.

But TB is preventable, treatable and curable – so we can end it. At The Lung Association, we have gone beyond TB alone. We are dedicated to doing everything possible to improve everyone’s breathing and lung health. Through our research, programs and public education, we are helping all Canadians breathe.