Statement from the CPHO - The time is now - joining forces to eliminate tuberculosis in Canada
March 22, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Public Health Agency of Canada
As we approach World Tuberculosis Day on Saturday, March 24, I am pleased to release my first public health spotlight report to shine a light on one of my key priorities: to accelerate our efforts toward elimination of tuberculosis (TB) in Canada.
TB is a preventable and curable disease, yet it remains one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide. Although rates of TB in Canada are among the lowest in the world, TB remains an important public health issue here at home for Indigenous peoples, in particular Inuit, and individuals born in countries with a high incidence of TB.
TB thrives on inequity and is aided and abetted by social determinants of health such as poverty, food insecurity and inadequate housing. It is these disparities and the stigma that accompanies them that need our attention so all Canadians can access and achieve their optimal health without physical, social and psychological barriers.
There is no better time than now to accelerate our efforts to eliminate TB. Improved rapid diagnostics for active TB disease are now available, allowing for timely treatment and reduced transmission. Reactivation of latent TB infection (LTBI) remains a major source of new active TB disease and transmission. Better tests and approaches to identify those individuals at the highest risk for disease reactivation, combined with more timely and effective LTBI treatment plans, all offer great promise.
The key to achieving TB elimination in Canada lies in collaborative action. Ultimately, the solutions to this complex social disease will be driven by the communities themselves, with sustained support from many players, including governments, academics, experts and other partners. Efforts that address social inequities coupled with improved diagnosis and treatment of active TB disease and LTBI will level the playing field and help eliminate TB in all of Canada.
Visit Canada.ca to read my full report where you can find out more about TB in Canada and the collective actions needed eliminate the disease, remove health disparities for sustained success and improve overall health.
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
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Public Health Agency of Canada
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