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March 23, 2011
Toronto Public Health to raise awareness of tuberculosis on World TB Day
Toronto Public Health is collaborating with community partners to promote awareness of tuberculosis (TB) on World TB Day, designated by the World Health Organization as March 24 each year. Tuberculosis continues to be a major global health issue.

In Toronto, 255 cases of TB disease were reported in 2009. The vast majority of people who develop TB in Toronto come from countries where TB is more common, and where access to testing and treatment may be limited. Toronto Public Health provides nursing support to TB patients and their families, provides contact followup for people exposed to infectious TB, and works with community groups, health care professionals, and newcomer agencies to increase TB awareness and to advocate for timely medical followup and treatment.

"Many people think TB is a disease of the past, but it is still very much an issue in Toronto. It is also preventable, treatable, and curable," said Dr. Elizabeth Rea, Associate Medical Officer of Health with Toronto Public Health.

Recently, the Toronto Board of Health called on the provincial government to remove the three-month OHIP waiting period for landed immigrants. This would enable timely diagnosis and crucial treatment of communicable diseases, like TB, that pose a risk to the health of individuals and communities.

Clients diagnosed with TB who do not have OHIP coverage are able to receive free medication to treat TB and to have their out-patient care covered under a provincial program know as TB-UP. However, hospital care for patients who are ill with TB is not covered by OHIP. In-patient hospital care is required by 40 per cent of TB patients, and the care can be very costly. The lack of OHIP coverage is a major financial barrier for those in need of appropriate health care services.

As part of this year’s World TB Day initiatives, Toronto Public Health is holding its Fourth Annual TB Update for primary care providers, and will focus on TB/HIV co-infection and pediatric TB issues. Toronto Public Health will also co-host a workshop for agencies serving newcomers, and is offering TB skin test workshops for health care providers in long-term care facilities.

More information is available on the Toronto Public Health website at

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contact:

Ahmad Saidullah,
Toronto Public Health,



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