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Health Matters: Global Impact of Tuberculosis and Better Monitoring

Health Matters podcast MUHC foundation Dream Big Posts

This week on Health Matters, Tarah Schwartz discusses the global impact of tuberculosis and the importance of better monitoring techniques to prevent infections with Dr. Jonathon Campbell. Co-chairs of this year’s Le Bal Rouge share the importance of supporting excellence in health care and medical research.

(Time on Podcast: 1:00). Jonathon Campbell is a Junior Scientist in the RESP Program. Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne infectious disease that transmits in a very similar way to COVID-19 and impacts not only the lungs but also other organs. TB is a disease that has not gone away. It remains the leading cause of death due to an infectious agent globally. Over 2 billion people are infected with TB, 10 million of these people get sick each year, and 1.6 million of these people die each year. TB is a very deadly disease and it disproportionately impacts different populations, including people born outside of Canada and certain Indigenous communities within Canada. TB really is driven by different social determinants of health – such as access to health care, food insecurity, housing insecurity. One of the largest drivers of TB is malnutrition globally. With poor access to health care, people remain sick for long periods of time and can continue transmitting to other people. With housing insecurity and overcrowding, there are many opportunities for transmission. TB is a chronic illness that has lifelong impacts – biological, social and economic impacts. The disease can cause long term lung damage, such as breathlessness. Beyond the lungs, there could be cardiovascular impacts long after the onset of infection. Tracking TB is very hard. It is really important to monitor to track our progress to TB. Jonathon’s research includes some quality improvement projects where they looked at the current TB surveillance system they use in Canada to identify some opportunities to improve the surveillance system in Canada. TB is curable, and is treated by 4 drugs over 6 months. People can be isolated in hospital for several weeks at the beginning of treatment. If TB is diagnosed and treated early, it is curable.

Listen to the Podcast

Paying it forward for excellence in health care. MUHC Foundation Health Matters. May 7, 2023.