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TB Crisis Emerges in US: Cases Surge Amid Mounting Concerns

Visual Representation for lungs suffering with TB

United States: Bacteria Mycobacterium Tuberculosis is responsible for causing a crisis linked to the Tuberculosis (TB) infection in the United States. Concerns have mounted among the health authorities after the cases of the disease witnessed an upsurge in the nation.

According to the report by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the cases linked to the infection have broken various records. The recently shared report by the federal health agency outlined that the country is known to have the lowest rates of infection across the globe, but the cases witnessed an upsurge of around 16 percent from 2022 to 2023.

As per various reports, the total number of cases registered in 2023 was more than 9,600.

In the United States, instances of tuberculosis experienced a prolonged decrease spanning nearly thirty years, as per the report. A significant decline notably manifested in 2020, aligning with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Subsequent to this period, there has been an annual escalation in cases, surpassing 8,300 in 2022 and peaking at 9,615 in 2023. This tentative statistic signifies the most substantial incidence of reported cases within the nation in at least a decade, given that the United States recorded 9,556 TB cases in 2013, according to the reports by the US News.

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The report by health expert read, “This post pandemic increase in US cases highlights the importance of continuing to engage communities with higher TB rates and their medical providers in TB elimination efforts and strengthening the capacity in public health programs to carry out critical disease control and prevention strategies,” according to the News Daily.

The researchers who were included in the study mentioned that the TB programs suffered highly during the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 infection because the health experts were busy addressing the spike in the cases linked to SARS-CoV-2. They further added that this sudden shift in the treatments and healthcare had a major impact on the diagnosis and treatment of TB.

The report mentioned, “These factors, along with changes in migration volume, probably contributed to the decrease in the number of cases observed in 2020, and to the subsequent rise in case counts and rates since 2020,” according to the US News.

The researchers also outlined, “Identification of TB cases possibly increased after the pandemic because of renewed attention to infectious diseases other than COVID-19.”

According to researchers, the majority of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the US, approximately 76%, occur among individuals born outside the country. Among this group, the TB rate is highest, at 15 cases per 100,000, which is an increase from 13.1 cases per 100,000 reported in 2022. In contrast, the rate among those born in the US remains steady at 0.8 cases per 100,000 annually.

Within the U.S.-born population, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) and American Indian or Alaska Native people experience the highest TB rates. Similarly, among individuals born outside the country, TB rates are highest among NHOPI individuals, followed by Asian individuals.

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Certain regions in the US witnessed higher rates of TB than others. Based on provisional data from 2023, the states with the highest rates were Alaska (10.6), Hawaii (8.1), California (5.4), New York (4.6), and Texas (4).

TB and Its Roots!

TB is caused by bacteria that primarily affect the lungs, leading to symptoms such as a persistent cough lasting three weeks or more, chest pain, and coughing up blood. The disease spreads through the air from person to person but is both treatable and preventable.

It’s noteworthy that not everyone infected with TB bacteria will develop the disease and become contagious. Most TB cases in the US result from the reactivation of latent bacteria within individuals rather than recent transmission. Nonetheless, TB remains one of the world’s leading infectious disease killers.

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