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CDC's Response to Ending Neglect

Why Eliminate TB? - Rationale for Elimination

The continuing social, public health, and economic costs of TB provide a compelling rationale for TB elimination. Thousands of new cases of TB disease still occur every year in the United States there were almost 16,000 in the year 2001 and an estimated 10 million to 15 million persons have latent TB infection with the attendant risk of future disease. Costly TB outbreaks continue to occur in the United States, and MDR TB continues to spread. Despite recent progress, 43 states and the District of Columbia reported at least one MDR TB case between 1993 and 1997.45 As a consequence, the cost of TB in the United States is estimated to approach $1 billion yearly.2

At present, TB incidence is at an all-time low, and several factors favor the feasibility of the elimination goal. TB is retreating into geographically and ethnographically distinct populations that can be targeted for effective prevention and control interventions. Such targeted interventions are likely to yield excellent results and be cost-effective in further reducing the incidence of TB. A commitment to eliminate TB also reflects society's willingness and ability to combat a grave health problem that disproportionately affects disenfranchised persons. A desire for social justice and the recognition of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the incidence of TB in the United States argue for more effective TB control and for political action that addresses the root causes of the disparities.46

Finally, elimination of TB from the United States evokes the greater vision of worldwide eradication of TB. A U.S. elimination initiative could serve as encouragement to other nations that are aware of the social and economic benefits of a healthy, long-lived population and the social justice that would be served by eliminating TB.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

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CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333