Local and Community News
Battle Against Tuberculosis; Number of Cases Among Ecuadorians Alarms Health Officials
January 22, 2003
Tuberculosis is taking a disproportionate toll on new arrivals to New York from rural, impoverished areas of the world such as Ecuador, China, Mexico, India and Haiti. There were 3,811 new TB cases in 1992 in New York City, and new immigrants made up 18 percent of them. Nine years later, in 2001, there were 1,261 new TB cases in the city, with 64 percent occurring among immigrants. And among those immigrants, Ecuadorians logged the largest share of full-blown TB cases in Queens in 2001 -- 51 of the borough's 129 cases. The shift reflects immigration trends, medical experts say, including an Ecuador-to-Corona, N.Y., path of migration in use since the late 1980s.Adapted from:
Dr. George Alonso, chief of Elmhurst Hospital Center's TB clinic and infectious diseases unit, said Ecuadorians make up the bulk of his South American patients, constituting 70 percent of all active TB cases he treats, and 60 percent of latent cases. Alonso noted that 90 percent of his Ecuadorian patients are from one city, Cuenca, nestled high in the Andes, in the rugged central-southern zone of the country, or from the surrounding countryside. The migration surged when the rural hat-making industry collapsed in the late 1980s, according to David Kyle, associate professor of Sociology at the University of California-Davis.
Dr. Brian Graham, project director of a Canadian-led initiative aimed at attacking the roots of TB at its source in Ecuador, said the high proportion of TB among Ecuador's immigrants stems from poor nutrition, threadbare living conditions and substandard medical care, along with the stresses of resettlement.
Newsday (New York City)
01.22.03; Barbara J. Fleck
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.