Foreign-born persons and African Americans living in the southeastern United States have higher-than-average rates of tuberculosis
“We’re doing pretty well all over the United States in eliminating tuberculosis, but among people who are born in a foreign country, the incidence of TB is declining much more slowly,” says Dolly Katz, Ph.D., M.P.H., who will present data from the CDC’s study on the Epidemiology of TB in Foreign-Born Persons in the United States. “The incidence of TB is nine times higher in foreign-born persons than in U.S-born persons, which indicates a problem,” she says. “We really don’t know very much about the circumstances of foreign-born people who have TB.”
Current surveillance information provides very minimal information, she points out. “We decided to do a study of foreign-born people with TB to get a better picture of TB among this population.”
And African-Americans have similar rates of tuberculosis:
Nationally, the TB rate among African Americans is more than eight times the rate among whites and has been for some time. Over one-third of the TB cases in African Americans are in the southeastern United States.
During the first phase of this study, researchers gathered information about knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about TB from six perspectives: TB patients, people with latent TB infection, at-risk individuals, and TB community leaders, providers and health departments who serve TB patients, people with latent TB infection, and at-risk individuals, through individual interviews and focus group discussions.
Dr. Royce will present study results gathered from one rural community and two urban communities in North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
She noted, “Unless new action is taken we will miss the Healthy People 2010 TB goals in the African-American community. Our findings, along with the research of others will help us develop effective interventions to address TB prevention and control in the African-American community and help close the gap for the elimination of TB.”
Data from the first phase will be used to develop and implement the intervention phase that aims to help reduce the disparity of TB among African Americans in the southeastern U.S.
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