Global Health Press
World TB Day

World TB Day

March 24 marked World TB Day, commemorating the date in 1882 when the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis was announced. World TB Day serves to raise awareness about TB issues and to support worldwide TB control efforts.

To coincide with this, the CDC has published a report of data showing that the incidence of tuberculosis in the United States has declined for the 20th consecutive year, dropping below 10,000 cases for the first time since standardized national reporting began in 1953.

The incidence rate for 2012 was 3.2 cases per 100,000 population, a decrease of 6.1% from 2011. However, some groups were disproportionately affected by TB. Foreign-born residents had a TB rate that was 11.5 times higher than the rate in US-born residents. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic Asians, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks had rates that were 25, 6.6 and 7.3 times higher, respectively.

“Given the significant burden of TB among foreign-born individuals in the United States, it is clear that TB is a health concern that must also be addressed globally,”Terrence Lo, DrPH, epidemic intelligence service officer in CDC’s division of TB elimination, told Infectious Disease News. “According to WHO, approximately one-third of the world’s population is infected with the bacteria that causes TB. In 2011, nearly 9 million people became ill with the disease and an estimated 1.4 million people died.”

Rates per state varied from 0.4 per 100,000 population in West Virginia to nine per 100,000 population in Alaska. Four states — California, Texas, New York and Florida — accounted for half of the TB cases reported in 2012.

Among those with TB, 7.7% were HIV-positive, 5.6% reported being homeless within the past year, 12.1% reported excessive alcohol use within the past year and 4.2% were confined to a correctional facility at diagnosis. There are not yet data for 2012 regarding multidrug-resistant TB, but in 2011, there were 127 cases, an increase of 1.3% from 2011. In 2012, there was one case of extensively drug-resistant TB reported.

“The data clearly show that TB prevention and control works,” Lo said. “The continuous decline in TB in the United States is credit to our local, state and national partners in our TB control efforts. Estimates suggest that if TB rates had remained consistent to levels in 1993, when TB made a comeback in the United States, more than 200,000 additional TB cases would have occurred in the United States over the past 20 years. But, despite these dramatic declines, TB has not been eliminated in the United States and we must continue to remain vigilant.”

Lo said that future goals include addresses latent TB infection, as approximately 4% of the population in the United States are infected with the bacteria, but have no symptoms and are not contagious. In addition, ensuring drug availability, treatment adherence, appropriate drug regimens and rapid diagnostics are a crucial part of the future goals.

Source: Healio – Infectious Diseases