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U.S. Tuberculosis Cases Hit Record Low, CDC Says
Date:3/24/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of tuberculosis fell to an all-time low in the United States in 2010, but the disease continues to disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities, those that are foreign-born, and people infected with HIV, federal officials reported Thursday.

There was a total of 11,181 tuberculosis (TB) cases reported in the United States in 2010, a 3.9 percent decline from 2009 -- to 3.6 cases per 100,000 people. Still, infection rates were seven times higher for Hispanics, eight times higher for blacks, and 25 times higher for Asians than for whites, the researchers found.

The study, released to coincide with World TB Day, also found that the TB rate was 11 times higher among those born outside the United States.

"That's 60 percent of the cases," said Dr. Kenneth G. Castro, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination. "This reflects the global nature of this public health problem," he noted.

"We continue to make progress against TB, however we didn't arrive at elimination as originally planned by 2010," he added.

Eliminating TB is defined as no more than one case per 1,000,000 people, Castro explained. "The rate we have now is 36 times higher than that," he said. When the elimination goal was set in 1989, the impact of HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis weren't taken into account, he pointed out.

"Tuberculosis is a disease that preys on the poor in every society," Castro said. "People who are disadvantaged, especially in the United States, are underinsured or uninsured," he said.

Drug-resistant TB is a worldwide problem, Castro said, noting that about 1.3 percent of all cases are drug-resistant strains. In 2010, one case of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis was reported to the CDC, noted the report, Trends in Tuberculosis -- United States, 2
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