NYC TB rate drops to record low

March 22, 2013 at 11:10 PM

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) -- New York City's tuberculosis rate has dropped to a record low of 8 cases per 100,000 people, health officials say.

"We have made great progress in controlling TB in NYC, but there is still work to be done if we are to eliminate it as a public health problem," Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City health commissioner, said in a statement. "It is essential that healthcare providers continue to collaborate on reporting and monitoring the treatment of TB cases to improve health outcomes for New Yorkers with TB, while ensuring that everyone receives the same standard of care regardless of insurance or immigration status."

New York City's TB rate dropped to a record low, but it is still double the national rate 8 per 100,000 people versus the national TB rate of 3.2 cases per 100,000 people, Farley said.

Foreign-born New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by TB -- the top five countries of origin among foreign-born persons with TB were China, Mexico, Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, the health department said.

TB remains a problem in many of these countries and throughout much of the world, causing illness in an estimated 9 million people each year and killing more than 1.5 million annually worldwide. Farley said.

In addition, there was a slight increase in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, a strain resistant to the two most powerful TB drugs, which makes treatment longer and more complicated.

The number of cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis fell dramatically from 1992 to 2007 -- from 441 multi-drug resistant cases to just 9 in 2007, but in 2012, it reached 18 cases, Farley said.

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