Tuberculosis Rates in United States at All-Time Low

But the country still falls short of goal of less than 0.1 case per 100,000 population

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of tuberculosis (TB) infection in the United States continues to decline, but the goal of elimination has not been met, and the infection disproportionately affects foreign-born individuals and ethnic minorities, according to a report published in the March 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC researchers report on trends in TB in the United States since 1993 and the current status of the disease according to 2010 data from the National TB Surveillance System. They found that the rate of TB declined an average of 3.8 percent annually between 2000 and 2008, 11.4 percent in 2009, and 3.9 percent in 2010; and, with 11,181 cases documented in 2010, the disease has reached its lowest point since national reporting began in 1953. However, the goal of elimination (less than 0.1 case per 100,000 population) has not been met.

According to the report, TB continues to disproportionately affect foreign-born individuals and racial/ethnic minorities, though TB rates and cases did decrease in these groups. In 2010, the TB rate among foreign-born individuals was 11 times greater than among U.S.-born individuals. TB rates among Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and Asians were seven, eight, and 25 times greater, respectively, than among non-Hispanic whites. Among U.S.-born racial/ethnic groups, the largest disparity in TB rates was for non-Hispanic blacks, whose rate was seven times greater than that of non-Hispanic whites.

"CDC is committed to eliminating TB in the United States. Progress in meeting the goal of TB elimination will hinge on improving TB control and prevention activities among disproportionately affected populations. This progress also will require better diagnostic tests and screening strategies for persons with latent TB infection, shorter treatment regimens, an effective vaccine, and improvements in TB control globally," the authors write.

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