World Tuberculosis Day – Some Remicade Thoughts

According to Google

March 24 commemorates World Tuberculosis Day, the date in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch discovered the bacterial infection spread through the air.

Each year, more than 9 million people will become sick from TB and 1.7 million will die. Two billion people—one third of the world’s population—are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB disease. Easily activated when the immune system is compromised, TB is a major killer of people with HIV/AIDS.

That is some scary big numbers. Especially to someone who is on Remicade, which can lower your ability to fight tuberculosis.According to the Remicade web site

REMICADE® (infliximab) can lower your ability to fight infections. There are reports of serious infections caused by viruses, fungi or bacteria that have spread throughout the body, including tuberculosis (TB) and histoplasmosis. Some of these infections have been fatal. Your doctor will test you for TB before starting REMICADE®. Tell your doctor if you have had recent or past exposure to people with TB. If you have latent (inactive) TB, your doctor should begin TB treatment before you start REMICADE®

I’ve been on Remicade to treat Crohn’s disease since 2002.  It has helped improve my life a lot.

Still, gotta wonder about a number like one third of the world’s population carrying something that could kill me. For the most part, TB is not a big concern in the US. However (because of the Crohn’s disease and the Remicade treatments every 8 weeks), I do spend a lot of time in hospitals. And hospitals are the kind of place I’d expect to see a higher concentration of people who are sick with TB.

Things that make you go “hmm…”

Makes me glad that travelling to exotic corners of the globe was never one of my ambitions.