BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Public Health is raising awareness about tuberculosis Friday on World TB Day.

Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease that remains one of the leading causes of death in the world. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, TB deaths increased in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade.

World TB Day is recognized each year on March 24 to educate the public about the impact of tuberculosis around the world.

CBS 42 spoke with ADPH medical official Burnestine Taylor about the importance of TB diagnosis and prevention.

“We do advise people that when you have prolonged cough, fever, feeling tired, losing weight, sweating heavily at night to consider that it could actually be TB and to not delay going to a physician or your provider if that’s the case,” Taylor said.

The ADPH Division of TB Control seeks to prevent future cases through prompt identification and medical evaluation of contacts at risk for exposure. TB services provided include diagnostic, treatment, case management and contact investigation to all persons in Alabama regardless of the ability to pay. ADPH also works to assure the initiation and completion of preventive therapy for those contacts diagnosed with latent TB infection.

For more information about TB, visit the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website.