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Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Tuberculosis -- United States, 1981

During 1981, 27,373 cases of tuberculosis were reported to CDC; the case rate was 11.9 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 1.4% in the number of cases reported and 3.3% in the case rate from 1980 (Table 1).

Case rates for the 50 states ranged from 20.1 per 100,000 in Alaska to 1.1 per 100,000 in Idaho. In 21 states, 1981's tuberculosis rate was greater than or equal to 1980's, while for 29 states and the District of Columbia, it was lower (Figure 1). The rate for California has risen during each of the past 3 years; the rates for Kansas and South Carolina have risen during each of the past 2 years.

Case rates were higher in the southern half of the country (Figure 2) and in the major cities. In 56 cities with a population greater than or equal to 250,000, the rate was 23.3 per 100,000 population--twice the national rate. Miami, Florida, had a rate of 87.0 per 100,000 in 1981, the highest for any major city since 1977; Omaha-Douglas County, Nebraska, had the lowest rate (3.8 per 100,000). Reported by Tuberculosis Control Div, Center for Prevention Svcs, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: During the past 3 years, no substantial decline has occurred in the number of tuberculosis cases in the United States. From 1968 through 1978, the number decreased by an average of 5.6% per year; during the past 3 years, the average decline has been 1.4%. Surveys show that cases among newly arrived Indochinese refugees largely accounted for the leveling off of the decline during 1979 and 1980 (1). A similar survey has not been done for 1981, but based on data from 14 states (Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin) and two large cities (Washington, DC, and New York City), all of which reported the countries of origin of tuberculosis patients in 1981, it is estimated that Indochinese refugees accounted for fewer cases in 1981 than in 1980. This is consistent with the fact that fewer refugees arrived in 1981 (121,959) than in 1980 (155,158). The number of cases among other persons in the United States increased slightly from 25,569 to 25,841 (Figure 3). There is no evidence that this slight increase has been caused by transmission from the Indochinese refugees.


  1. CDC. Tuberculosis among Indochinese refugees. MMWR 1981;30:603-6.

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