April 2, 2002
Michael Iademarco, associate director for science in the CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, called Mississippi's decline "a laudable accomplishment. Mississippi is among other states in the Southeast that carry a large burden of TB cases." Provisional estimates show about half the nation's TB cases in 2001 were among people born in other countries, Iademarco said. "TB is endemic in the rest of the world," he said. "As we do a good job of controlling TB here, we have to focus on rates in people born outside the US."
The number of cases in Mississippi has gradually declined since the early 1980s, when the state ranked second highest in the nation, Thompson said. "The problem is TB is not eliminated, and if we get complacent... then it will go back up. That's hard to do when you only have a hundred or two [hundred] cases a year and you can't get people excited about funding it because they don't know anybody's who's had TB lately," said Thompson.