TB Facts for Health Care Workers
Tuberculosis — Yes! It's Still a Problem!
- Worldwide, nine million new tuberculosis (TB) cases occur each
year and there are 2 million TB-related deaths.
- In the United States, after several decades
of decline, TB cases increased 20 percent between 1985 and 1992.
Reasons for the increase included
- Deterioration of the TB public health care infrastructure
- The HIV epidemic
- Immigration of persons from areas with a high prevalence
- Transmission of TB in high-risk environments, such as correctional
facilities, homeless shelters, hospitals, and nursing homes
- During the resurgence of TB, outbreaks of multidrug-resistant
TB (MDR TB) occurred in hospitals and prisons, resulting in high
death rates and transmission to health care workers.
- The 14,517 TB cases reported in 2004 represent the eleventh
consecutive year of decline in the United
States. This decline suggests the successful
use of new resources in different areas of the country to better
detect and treat persons with TB disease and latent TB infection.
While the decrease in TB cases is encouraging, there are several
areas of concern which will require expanded efforts:
- TB cases continue to increase in some areas of the United States.
- During 1993 to 2004, the District
of Columbia and 47 states reported diagnosing and caring for
persons with MDR TB.
- An estimated 9 to 14 million persons in the United
States are infected with Mycobacterium
tuberculosis.* Without intervention, about 10 percent
of these persons will develop TB disease at some point in
- Directly observed therapy (DOT) is not available for many
persons with TB disease who have difficulty completing a full
course of TB treatment.
- In 2004, the majority (82%) of all reported TB cases in
the United States occurred in racial and ethnic minorities.
- An increasing proportion of TB cases in the United States are
among individuals born outside this country in areas with
a high prevalence of TB. International collaboration needs
to be strengthened to prevent and control TB in these persons.
- Despite overall declines in TB cases in the United States, inequities
persist in racial, ethnic, and foreign-born groups.
* 1999 - 2000 CDC National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey (NHANES)
Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination - http://www.cdc.gov/tb
Please send comments/suggestions/requests
CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333