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Burden of TB in the United States

Woman about to receive injection

Understanding how Tuberculosis (TB) affects our communities helps us design better public health interventions and track our progress towards elimination. Read about new data available in the 2016 TB Surveillance report.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable and curable disease. Although many people think of TB as a disease of the past, too many people in the United States still suffer from TB. CDC works with state and local partners toward the goal of TB elimination in the United States. CDC plays an important role in TB elimination by collecting TB surveillance data to track national progress towards elimination and inform TB prevention and control activities.

According to the most recent TB surveillance report, the United States continued to make slow progress towards TB elimination in 2016. However, at the current rate of decline, the United States will not reach the goal of TB elimination in this century. Eliminating TB in the United States will require interrupting TB transmission that is still ongoing in some communities, as well as major efforts to address latent TB infection.

Highlights from the 2016 TB Surveillance Report

  • In 2016, a total of 9,272 cases of TB were reported in the United States.
  • This case count is a small decrease from 2015, and the lowest number of TB cases on record.
  • TB cases were reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • The overall TB case rate declined to 2.9 cases per 100,000 persons.
  • The percentage of TB cases that are drug resistant has remained stable.
  • TB disease remains more common among people who were born in countries with high rates of TB. The majority of these cases are among persons who have been in the United States 5 years or longer.

Treating Latent TB Infection Prevents TB Disease

Most 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. Although anyone can get TB, some people have a higher risk of getting infected with TB germs, and should get 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.

New Efforts to Address Latent TB Infection

Clinicians, health care agencies, and community organizations have a critical role in TB elimination. Engaging our partners is key to future success.
Eliminating TB in the United States will require major new efforts to incorporate latent TB infection testing and treatment in public and private health systems, such as:

  • establishing a surveillance system for latent TB infection;
  • expanding targeted testing for latent TB infection in at-risk populations;
  • increasing the use of new short-course treatment regimens for latent TB infection;
  • engaging affected communities and medical providers who serve at-risk communities; and
  • increasing public health staffing for implementation and oversight.

CDC is committed to working with public health partners, clinicians, health care agencies, and community organizations to find, treat, and eventually eliminate TB disease.

Additional information about TB can be found in the recently released Reported Tuberculosis in the United States, 2016 and the accompanying slide set. For a quick look at TB by the numbers, please see TB Trends 2016 and Take on TB Infographics. TB data are also available in AtlasPlus, where users can create custom tables, maps, and charts.

Map: TB Cases Rates in the United States in 2016

TB cases were reported in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. View more information >>