Hispanic or Latino Persons

In 2019, a total of 8,916 TB cases were reported in the United States; however, Hispanic or Latino persons continue to be impacted by TB at a greater rate compared to other racial and ethnic minority groups.

Several important factors contribute to the higher rates of TB among racial and ethnic minority groups, including Hispanic or Latino persons. These factors include being born in a country with a high rate of TB or travel to a country with a high rate of TB.

The Numbers

In 2019, U.S. state, local, and territorial health agencies reported 8,916 TB cases to CDC.

  • In 2019, TB disease was reported in 2,696 Hispanic or Latino persons in the United States, accounting for 30% of all people reported with TB nationally.
  • The rate of TB disease is 9 times higher for Hispanic or Latino persons than for non-Hispanic White persons.
  • Read more of the 2019 surveillance data in Reported Tuberculosis in the United States, 2019.
Tuberculosis in Hispanic or Latino Persons
Latino words

Figure 1. CDC en español has Spanish-language resources

In 2019, TB disease was reported in 2,696 Hispanic or Latino persons in the United States, accounting for 30% of all people reported with TB nationally.

Prevention Challenges

Figure 2.

Figure 2. "The information that I find most helpful is that it’s an airborne disease. Anybody can get it."

TB is a challenging disease to diagnose, treat, and control. Dwindling resources and loss of public health capacity, including access to care and maintaining clinical and public health expertise, add to the challenge. It is critical to reach those populations at highest risk for TB, and to identify and implement innovative strategies to improve diagnosis and treatment.

Ending TB will require a dual approach of maintaining and strengthening current TB control priorities, while increasing efforts to identify and treat latent TB infection in populations at risk for TB disease.

Similar to other racial and ethnic minority groups, Hispanic or Latino persons face a number of challenges that contribute to higher rates of TB. Challenges include:

  • Testing and Diagnosis
    • Many people born outside of the United States have been given a vaccine for TB called BCG. Vaccination with BCG may cause a false positive reaction to a TB skin test. A positive reaction to a TB skin test may be due to the BCG vaccine itself or due to infection with TB bacteria. TB blood tests are the preferred method of TB testing for people who have received the BCG vaccine. TB blood tests are not affected by prior BCG vaccination and do not give a false-positive result in people who have received the BCG vaccine.
Hispanic or Latino Persons
  • Treatment Duration and Completion
    • Treatment for TB disease can be lengthy. Patients are often unable or reluctant to take medication for several months. For people with TB disease, inadequate treatment can lead to treatment failure, relapse, ongoing transmission, and development of drug resistance.
    • For people with latent TB infection, treatment for a condition with no symptoms of illness may not be a priority.
  • Socioeconomic Factors
    • People experiencing poverty, including those with limited access to quality health care, unemployment, housing, and transportation, disproportionately experience adverse health outcomes. These factors can directly or indirectly increase the risk for TB disease and present barriers to treatment.
    • Language and cultural barriers, including health knowledge, stigma associated with the disease, values, and beliefs may also place certain populations at higher risk. Stigma may deter people from seeking medical care or follow up care.
  • HIV and Other Medical Conditions
    • TB remains a serious threat, especially for people who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People infected with HIV are more likely than uninfected people to get sick with other infections and diseases, including TB.
      • Without treatment, as with other opportunistic infections, HIV and TB can work together to shorten the life of the person infected.
    • In addition to HIV, other underlying medical conditions may increase the risk that latent TB infection will progress to TB disease. For example, the risk is higher in people with diabetes, substance abuse (including injection of illegal drugs), silicosis, or those undergoing medical treatments with corticosteroids.
Page last reviewed: October 23, 2020