A new case of active tuberculosis triggers several levels of response. The patient must first begin a long and intense schedule of medications. Each session of pill-taking, several times each week, must be supervised by a health-care professional (DOT - Direct Observed Therapy) to insure that no doses are missed.
In addition, all persons who have had potentially-infectious contact with the patient will be tracked down and tested. These people can often be difficult to find. Sometimes the patients themselves will intentionally avoid treatment (which causes unpleasant side effects) and they, too, must be found and returned to treatment. A great deal of detective work, social work, education and other tasks go hand-in-hand with a case of TB.
This clip features Dr. Jay Kravitz (former Health Officer for Washington County), and Dr. Mary Ann Ware and Marco Reyes (both with the Multnomah County TB Program.)
© 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting.