health departmentThe Mohave County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) is currently providing case management for three active Tuberculosis (TB) cases in the county.  One of these cases is a continuation from 2014 and two are new in 2015.  In addition to case management for the active cases, thus far in 2015 we have investigated 8 suspect cases and identified 17 persons with latent TB.

 Case management for TB includes Direct Observed Therapy (DOT) whereby nursing personnel watch the TB patient actually take their medication. It is extremely important that people with TB disease take their medicine exactly as prescribed and that they finish the medicine.  When a person who has TB does not take their medications regularly as prescribed, the bacteria can become resistant to the medications, making it very difficult to treat and to get rid of the TB. This resistant strain of TB can also be spread to others who will also have difficulty with treatment. For this reason, the PHN works with the patient and physicians to ensure the person with TB is able to continue on medications so that their health improves and that they become no longer infectious to those around them.

 Additionally, individuals who have been in close contact with a TB patient are contacted as part of the investigation.  TB skin testing is provided for screening purposes. Individuals with a positive skin test receive counseling, a chest x-ray, and free medication if necessary.

 The chart below reflects the TB incidence in Mohave County compared to rate of incidence throughout Arizona and the United States through calendar year 2014 and year to date in 2015.







Mohave case count*:







Mohave rate** :







Arizona rate** :







U.S.  rate**:







   * Estimates based on 2013 population

   **rates are per 100,000 population

While the case count for TB seems low, there is considerable amount of time spent to investigate and provide management of persons diagnosed with, and those suspected of having, TB (active) as well as those who have been exposed to TB (Latent). In 2014, MCDPH investigated and managed care for one active case of TB, investigated 16 suspect cases and identified and managed treatment for 28 persons with latent TB infection,

 What is Tuberculosis?

 Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. Symptoms  include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood. TB can also affect other areas of the body, especially in children, but these symptoms will depend on what part of the body that it has affected.

 How is TB Spread?

 TB germs are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. The germs can stay in the air for several hours, depending on the environment.  People who breathe in the air containing these TB germs can become infected; this is called latent TB infection.

 What is the Difference Between Latent TB Infection and TB Disease?

 People with latent TB infection have TB germs in their bodies, but they are not sick because the germs are not active.  These people do not have symptoms of TB disease, and they cannot spread the germs to others.  However, they may develop TB disease in the future.  They are often prescribed  medicine to prevent them from developing TB disease.

 People with TB disease are sick from TB germs that are active, meaning the germs are multiplying and destroying tissue in their body. They usually have symptoms of TB disease.  People with TB disease of the lungs or throat  can spread germs to others.  They are prescribed drugs that can treat TB disease.

 Who takes care of TB in Mohave County?

 Medical providers are responsible for diagnosing persons with TB. Diagnostic testing often includes review of symptoms, TB skin testing and examination of lungs and other areas of the body for signs of TB. MCDPH Nursing Division responds to disease outbreaks and works with the community to help prevent the spread of disease to other people. Arizona Administrative Code 9-6-380 requires providers to report suspect and confirmed cases of TB and other infectious diseases/conditions to the local health department so the disease team can respond to these public health concerns.

 A person with TB is monitored by a public health nurse (PHN) daily to ensure safety of the ill person as well as the safety of the community. The PHN works with the TB Control Officer, a physician who is knowledgeable about diagnosis and treatment of TB, to ensure appropriate treatment, safety, and to ensure the individual takes the TB medications as prescribed.

 Taking TB medications is very important for the patient and for the community.

 What Should I Do if I Have Been Exposed to Someone with TB Disease?

 People with TB disease are most likely to spread the germs to people they spend time with every day, such as family members or coworkers. If you have been around someone who has TB disease, you should contact your doctor or the MCDPH at the numbers listed below. MCDPH will provide screening for those exposed to someone with active TB. If you have been exposed to TB, please ask to speak with a public health nurse.

 Bullhead City (928) 758-0703

Kingman   (928) 753-0743     

Lake Havasu City (928) 453-0703