TB in the Homeless Population
TB in the homeless population is a public health concern. While the reported number of TB cases in the United States decreased slightly in 2011, a disproportionate number of TB cases still occur among high-risk populations, including people experiencing homelessness.
In the United States, 1% of the population experiences homelessness in a given year, but more than 5% of people with TB reported being homeless within the year prior to diagnosis. These findings are not surprising, as people experiencing homelessness have a high occurrence of conditions that increase the risk of TB, including substance abuse, HIV infection, and congregation in crowded shelters. This combination of conditions is favorable for spreading TB. In addition, people who are homeless often lack ready access to the medical care required to make an early diagnosis of TB.
What CDC is Doing
To address TB among the homeless population, CDC is collaborating with other national and public health organizations to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment for people experiencing homelessness. In addition, CDC is working to improve TB control activities in partnership with healthcare agencies addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
The homeless population represents an important risk group among U.S.-born TB patients. To achieve TB elimination, ongoing efforts are needed to address the disproportionate number of TB cases among this high-risk population.
CDC Resources on the Homeless Population
- Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis Among Homeless Persons (ACET)
MMWR 1992; 41 (No. RR-5)
- Reported Tuberculosis in the United States, 2011
- CDC Feature: Homelessness is a risk factor for TB
- Notes from the Field: Tuberculosis Cluster Associated with Homelessness — Duval County, Florida, 2004–2012 MMWR 2012; 61 (No. 28)
- Tuberculosis Outbreak Associated with a Homeless Shelter – Kane County, Illinois, 2007–2011 MMWR 2012; 61 (No. 11, 186-189)
- Tuberculosis Transmission in a Homeless Shelter Population - New York, 2000-2003
MMWR 2005; 54 (No. 06)
- TB Outbreak Among Homeless Persons - King County, Washington, 2002–2003
MMWR 2003; 52 (No. 49
- Tuberculosis Outbreak in a Homeless Population - Portland, Maine, 2002-2003
MMWR 2003; 52 (No. 48)
- Basic TB Information
- TB Facts Series
- For additional CDC resources on TB, see Patient and General Public Materials.
For Health Care Providers