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Current Trends Tuberculosis -- United States, 1984

In 1984, a provisional total of 21,701 tuberculosis cases was reported to CDC, a 9.0% decline from the 1983 final total of 23,846 cases. Similarly, in 1984 the provisional incidence rate was 9.2 cases per 100,000 population, a decline of 9.8% from the 1983 final rate of 10.2/10,000 (Figure 4).

Final mortality data recently released by the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that, in 1982, there were 1,807 tuberculosis deaths, a decline of 6.7% from the 1,937 deaths reported in 1981. Reported by Div of Tuberculosis Control, Center for Prevention Svcs, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: From 1975 through 1978, the average annual decrease in the tuberculosis incidence rate was 6.3% (Figure 4). From 1978 through 1981, when there was a large influx of Southeast Asian refugees, the average annual decline was only 3.2%. A 7.6% decrease in 1982, a 7.3% decrease in 1983, and the provisional 9.8% decrease in 1984 indicate that the previous downward trend has resumed.

Three factors may have contributed to the decreased incidence of tuberculosis: (1) a decline in the number of indigenous tuberculosis cases; (2) a decline in the number of refugees with tuberculosis arriving in the United States (since 1983, Indochinese refugees with tuberculosis have been completing supervised, directly observed chemotherapy in Southeast Asia before coming to the United States); and (3) an increase in the number of states using the new national individual case reporting system, which requires more accurate verification of cases before they are counted.

In 1980, the number of tuberculosis deaths declined by 1.4%, and in 1981, by 2.1%. The decline of 6.7% in 1982 is encouraging.

The decline in the tuberculosis incidence rate indicates continuing progress toward the 1990 national prevention objective of an annual reported incidence of eight cases per 100,000 population (Figure 4) (1). Intensification of tuberculosis control efforts using existing technology and program strategies (2,3) should be able to accelerate this downward trend. If new tools for tuberculosis control, which are more effective, more efficient, and easier to implement, can be developed, tuberculosis elimination in the United States can become a reality.


  1. U.S. Public Health Service. Promoting health/preventing disease: objectives for the nation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Public Health Service, 1980, p. 58.

  2. American Thoracic Society. Control of tuberculosis. Am Rev Resp Dis 1983;128:336-42.

  3. American Thoracic Society. Treatment of tuberculosis and other mycobacterial diseases. Am Rev Resp Dis 1983;127:790-6.

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