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March 22, 2002
Awareness campaign marks World Tuberculosis Day
Toronto Public Health -- Community groups, hospitals, and over three thousand
family physicians in Toronto are receiving tuberculosis information and an
update on TB in the city in an effort to raise awareness of the disease and
mark World TB Day, March 24.

Toronto has close to 400 cases of TB per year, approximately one quarter of all
cases reported annually in Canada. World TB Day is sponsored by the World
Health Organization. This year's theme is "Stop TB, fight poverty."

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Medical Officer of Health, said the public needs
basic facts about TB. "This disease is preventable, treatable and curable. We
are working with all our partners to provide information on diagnosis,
treatment and prevention."

At the local level, Toronto Public Health is continuing its investigation and
follow-up of a TB outbreak in two downtown shelters. Fourteen cases of TB have
been linked to the outbreak. No new cases related to this outbreak have been
reported since January, 2002.

"We are working closely with shelter staff, community agencies and St.
Michael's Hospital TB clinic to provide treatment and contain the outbreak. We
have conducted 52 TB screening clinics for individuals who have come in contact
with active TB cases, and administered 1,159 TB skin tests at 12 sites in the
city," said Dr. Yaffe.

As part of ongoing education and outbreak control measures, Public Health staff
have also conducted three full-day workshops for 332 shelter staff from 124
agencies that provide services to the homeless.

The TB Sub-committee of the Toronto Board of Health, which includes
representatives from hospitals, community agencies, school board
representatives and long-term care facilities is meeting today to discuss TB
prevention and treatment as well as outreach to vulnerable communities.

For more information on World TB Day, visit the World Health Organization web
site at:

Media Contact
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