Change in guidelines could help eliminate TB in US

January 2, 2007

To eliminate tuberculosis (TB) in the United States, current guidelines should be changed to reclassify all foreign-born residents from high-incidence countries as "high-risk," regardless of the amount of time they have lived in the U.S.

These findings appear in the first issue for January 2007 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

Kevin P. Cain, M.D., of the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and seven associates collected data on all 2004 TB cases listed in the U.S. National TB Surveillance database. The investigators' aim was to understand why the number of annual cases of TB reported in U.S.-born persons declined by 93 percent from 1993 to 2004, while foreign-born cases increased by five-percent.

"For example, in 2004, a total of 14,517 cases of TB were reported," said Dr. Cain. "Of these, 3,444 or 24 percent were foreign-born persons who had entered the United States more than five years previously."

Present guidelines recommend only those residing in the U.S. for five years or less be targeted for tuberculin skin testing and treatment of latent TB infection.

The following countries of origin of U.S. immigrant residents had the largest number of TB cases in 2004: Mexico (1,976), Philippines (829), Vietnam (619), India (557), China (352), Haiti (248), South Korea (219), Guatemala (190), Ethiopia (169) and Peru (159).

"Twenty-five percent of all reported TB cases in the United States are among foreign-born persons who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years," said Dr. Cain. "There is no policy to test foreign-born persons for latent TB infection before entering the U.S., or to test them after they have lived here for more than five years. As such, present guidelines do not currently address the burden of latent TB infection in the foreign-born subgroup."

According to the authors, the goal of TB control efforts in the U.S. is eliminating the disease. They define elimination as less than one case reported per million in a given population. If achieved, the number of TB cases diagnosed in 2004 would have been less than 300, as contrasted to the 14,517 reported.

"Until we address the burden of latent TB infection in the foreign-born group, achieving TB elimination will not be possible," said Dr. Cain.

He noted that controlling and eliminating TB will require a comprehensive strategy, with varying approaches for immigrant populations from high-risk countries.

Source: American Thoracic Society

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017

(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

December 7, 2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.