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Is it the flu, allergies, or Tuberculosis?

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The meeting of The Association of American Geographers is underway in sunny Los Angeles. What on earth has this got to do with you in Fort Worth? Well, a paper scheduled for presentation at this conference is entitled Neighborhood Characteristics and Tuberculosis in Tarrant County Texas...yup...Tarrant County, the home of Fort Worth Texas. Click here to read the abstract.

Apparently, there's more going on in these parts than good eats at the Stockyards.

In 2011, 1,325 cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported in Texas, a rate of five per 100,000 population. This may seem like a small percentage per population amount, but not everyone who contracts TB shows active symptoms. Therefore, the reported number of cases may not represent the actual potential for the disease spread. Also, individuals with pre-existing health complications are more at risk. Click here to read more.

So what are the symptoms? Well, just to complicate matters, they could be very similar to a bad cold or bout of flu - cough, fever, night sweats, chest pain and fatigue. Or you may have no symptoms at all.

So how can you be sure what you've got?

There are currently two Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved blood tests on the market: the QuantiFERON®–TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT-GIT) and the T-SPOT®.TB test (T-Spot). The Department of State Health Services Laboratory Services Section Molecular and Serological Analysis Group processes specimens for the QFT-GIT test. Although the tuberculin skin test has been the conventional screening method in Texas, regional and local tuberculosis programs are adopting the IGRA test as the standard tool to screen for TB...Texas DSHS TB Statistics

Fortunately, overall US numbers are on the decline but certain demographics are more at risk - those in the Asian communities and individuals with compromised health such as those with AIDS/HIV. California, Texas, Florida, and New York are the four states in which TB is still prevalent...click here to read more.

So what's involved with the test? Click here to find out more. Click here for a list of services (including prices) provided by Tarrant County Public Health Main Campus, 1101 South Main Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76104

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