Two years after noting the first increase in domestic tuberculosis incidence in more than 20 years, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today that new cases in this country are once again continuing to decline — but not nearly enough to reach goals of eliminating the disease and its impacts here in this century. In addition, while reflecting a less than 2 percent drop in the number of new cases overall, the data show increases in tuberculosis incidence in states that include New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Washington, Mississippi, Louisiana, Colorado — across every region of the United States.
Those increases, as well as a slowing in reductions of incidence rates overall reflect disparities in risks and access to screening, preventive care, testing, and treatment, disproportionately affecting foreign-born, incarcerated, homeless, and indigenous and black Americans. The resulting gaps put the United States far off track from achieving the goal of eliminating the disease in the United States — which would require reducing the rate of new tuberculosis cases by nearly 4 percent each year.
While the CDC notes that the data show both the the lowest number of new TB cases — 9093 — and TB incidence rates since national tuberculosis surveillance began, the numbers also reflect a continued slowing in the rate of incidence and case decline — from an average drop 5.3 percent from 2010 to 2013, to an average decline of 2 percent over the last three years. They also reflect a continued concentration of cases in New York, Florida, Texas, and California, which together reported half of the total of TB cases in the United States in 2017.
That, in turn includes the first increase in tuberculosis case numbers in New York City in 25 years, noted community and advocacy organizations there, that include Treatment Action Group, Housing Works, African Services Committee, highlighting impacts of cuts in funding for health programs and services.