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TB Silent Killer - TB in King County

The Tuberculosis rate in King County is more than 50% above the national average.
King County resident Robert Murphy was at work one day and in isolation the next with infectious TB. Enrique Cerna brings us local connections to the global TB epidemic and efforts to eradicate this deadly disease.

See his report now, then tune in to the FRONTLINE special “TB Silent Killer.”

Tuberculosis was once thought to be a disease of the past. But with virulent new drug-resistant strains emerging faster than ever, TB — passed simply by a cough or a sneeze — is the second leading cause of death from an infectious disease on the planet. In TB Silent Killer, FRONTLINE presents an unforgettable portrait of the lives at the pandemic’s epicenter.

The King County TB rate is more than 50 percent above the national average. Newly released figures from Public Health – Seattle/King County show 114 active cases of TB diagnosed last year, which is six cases more than in 2012. And, public health officials have noted that an estimated 100,000 King County residents are infected with TB, but the microbe is dormant. Because this region is a hub for international travelers, health officials are also concerned that county residents are more vulnerable to the spread of TB, which infects one-third of the world’s population and last year claimed 1.3 million lives.

Get more information about TB at Public Health - Seattle & King County.  Read the World Health Organization's Global Tuberculosis Report 2013.


KCTS 9's Enrique Cerna with IDRI founder Steve Reed

Seattle is home to major global organizations working to eradicate infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

IDRI, Infectious Disease Research Institute, is a non-profit that develops new TB drugs and vaccines. IDRI was instrumental in the discovery and early evaluation of the first protein-based TB vaccine candidate. Even as this vaccine candidate continues to advance through the development process, IDRI is working on a next-generation vaccine that could prevent and potentially treat multi drug-resistant TB. In addition to its vaccine program, IDRI is focused on developing a rapid and effective TB diagnostic test. The efforts in this area are supported by IDRI’s expansive collection of TB antigens. IDRI also acquired exclusive rights to MicronJet, an intradermal delivery system that enables improved tuberculin skin testing. Along with its partner, Chembio, a prototype diagnostic test has been developed that rapidly detects active TB, providing significant advantages over current diagnostic methods. Learn More.

Live Chat Archive

FRONTLINE and the NPR Shots Blog co-hosted a live web chat about "TB Silent Killer" on Wednesday, 3/26 at 12:30 PST.

The chat featured the filmmaker, Jezza Neumann, along with Doctors without Borders TB Advisor Grania Brigden, Executive Director of Results, Joanne Carter, and NPR global health reporter Michaeleen Doucleff.

Learn more at FRONTLINE.

TB Voices Project for Snohomish and King County, WA

Tb Voices

People from across King and Snohomish County shared their tuberculosis (TB) experiences through the TB Voices, a project of TB Photovoice, a non-profit organization based in Snohomish, Washington. Learn More.