TB in Specific Populations
Tuberculosis (TB) is a challenging disease to diagnose, treat, and prevent. Although anyone can get TB, certain groups are at increased risk for TB. Clinicians, health care agencies, and community organizations, especially those serving populations at higher risk for TB, have a critical role in TB elimination.
Some groups of people are affected by TB more than others. The occurrence of TB at greater levels among certain population groups is often referred to as a health disparity. Differences may occur by gender, race or ethnicity, income, comorbid medical conditions, or geographic location.
In 2020, TB disease was reported in 1,409 non-Hispanic Black or African American persons in the United States, accounting for nearly 20% of all people reported with TB nationally.
TB disease in children under 15 years of age (also called pediatric tuberculosis) is a public health problem of special significance because it is an indicator of recent transmission of TB. Also, infants and young children are more likely than older children and adults to develop life-threatening forms of TB disease.
TB in correctional facilities is a public health concern. People living in congregate settings, including correctional facilities and detention centers, are at increased risk of becoming infected with TB bacteria due to shared airspaces.
TB disease in people experiencing homelessness is a public health concern. A disproportionate number of TB cases still occur among populations at higher risk for TB disease, including people experiencing homelessness. People living in congregate settings, including homeless shelters, are at increased risk of becoming infected with TB bacteria due to shared airspaces.
In many countries, TB disease is much more common than in the United States. TB is a serious international public health problem. Although multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB are occurring globally, they are still rare. All travelers should avoid high-risk settings where there are no infection control measures in place.