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Burden of TB in the United States

 Male Provider reviewing a TB Poster on a wall

Too many people in the United still suffer from TB disease. New 2017 surveillance data can help track progress toward elimination, and inform TB prevention and control activities.

End TB: A Global Call to Action

On September 26, 2018, leaders from CDC joined over 1000 participants, including heads of state, health officials, non-profit organizations, survivors, and many others at the United Nations for the first-ever high-level meeting on the fight to end TB. The meeting served as a global call to action to strengthen our collective efforts to eliminate TB disease – the world’s leading infectious disease killer. It was the most significant political meeting ever held on TB. The meeting resulted in a Political Declaration on TB [372 KB] endorsed by Heads of State that will form the basis for the future TB response.

End TB - United Nations, High-Level Meeting on the Fight to End Tuberculosis - September 26, 2018

CDC joined world leaders for the first United Nations high-level meeting on the fight to end to end TB.

CDC works with state and local partners to achieve the goal of TB elimination in the United States. One key activity is collecting TB surveillance data to track national progress toward elimination and to inform TB prevention and control activities.

According to the most recent TB surveillance report, the United States continues to have one of the lowest TB case rates in the world, and the 2017 case count represents the lowest number of TB cases on record. Still, too many people suffer from TB disease and our progress is too slow to eliminate TB in this century. Ending TB will require maintaining and strengthening current TB control priorities while increasing efforts to identify and treat latent TB infection in high-risk populations.

Highlights from the 2017 U.S. TB Surveillance Report

Treating Latent TB Infection Prevents TB Disease

More than 80% of U.S. TB cases are associated with reactivation of longstanding, untreated latent TB infection. Testing for and treating latent TB infection in high-risk populations is the most effective way to prevent TB disease. Up to 13 million people in the United States have latent TB infection. Although anyone can get TB, some people have a higher risk of being infected with TB germs, and should be tested for TB infection. These groups include:

  • People born in or who frequently travel to countries where TB disease is common.
  • People who currently, or used to, live in large group settings, such as homeless shelters or prisons and jails where TB is more common.
  • Health care workers and others who work in places at high risk for TB transmission, such as hospitals, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and residential homes for people living with HIV.
  • Someone who has spent time with a person who has infectious TB disease.
  • Others with weaker immune systems, such as those with certain health conditions or taking certain medications, have a higher risk of developing TB disease once infected.

In June 2018, CDC updated the recommendations for use of once-weekly isoniazid-rifapentine for 12 weeks for treatment of latent TB infection. The 12-dose regimen may help to remove existing barriers to latent TB treatment for both patients and providers by offering practical advantages such as a shorter timeframe, and the option for some individuals to self-administer medications. CDC encourages the use of short-course treatment regimens for latent TB infection to improve treatment completion.

Learn About CDC’s Efforts to Eliminate TB in the United States

As Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said to participants of the United Nations meeting, “The world must do more to end TB.” The United States has made great progress towards the goal of TB elimination, but we can increase our prevention efforts to turn TB elimination into a reality. CDC is committed to working with public health partners, clinicians, health care agencies, and community organizations to find, treat, and eventually eliminate TB disease in the United States.

Map showing TB rates in the United States 2017

In 2017, TB Cases were reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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