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U.S. Tuberculosis Rate Hits All-Time Low: CDC

March 20, 2009

In 2008, 12,898 new TB cases were reported in the United States, CDC said Thursday. "The TB rate declined 3.8 percent from 2007 to 4.2 cases per 100,000 population, the lowest rate recorded since national reporting began in 1953," CDC said. The rate of decline has slowed, however, and new cases are disproportionately hitting the foreign-born and racial/ethnic minorities.

"In 2008, the number of TB cases and annual TB rate reached all-time lows in the United States," wrote Robert Platt of CDC's Division of TB Elimination and colleagues. However, the rate of decline has plateaued, falling by 7.3 percent per year during 1993-2000 to 3.8 percent during 2000-2008.

"TB continues to disproportionately affect racial/ethnic minorities and foreign-born persons," the authors said. TB rates among Asians were nearly 23 times higher than among non-Hispanic whites, and rates were nearly eight times higher for blacks and Hispanics than among non-Hispanic whites. The TB rate for foreign-born persons was 10 times higher than the rate for the US-born.

In 2008, among the 7,652 TB patients with a known HIV test result, 802 (10.5 percent) were HIV-infected. Multidrug-resistant TB accounted for just over 1 percent of US cases last year, including four extensively drug-resistant TB cases indicated by provisional data, CDC reported.

The report, "Trends in Tuberculosis -- United States, 2008," was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review (2009;58(10):249-253).

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