Filipinos contribute to TB cases in US – report

Reynaldo Santos Jr

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The Philippines has been the second top country of origin of tuberculosis cases in the US since 1993, next only to Mexico.

Cases of tuberculosis in the US from top countries of origin, 1993 to 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos living in the United States contribute to cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the country, US health data shows.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Tuberculosis Surveillance System revealed in a report that out of the 10,521 TB cases reported in the United States, 6,546 cases were among foreign-born persons.

Of these foreign-born persons with TB, 11.5% are said to have originated from the Philippines.

Apart from the Philippines, more than half of the cases originated in 4 other countries: 21% from Mexico, 8.2% from Vietnam, 7.6% from India and 5.6% from China.

Number and rate of TB cases among US-born and foreign-born persons, 1993 to 2011

Decline in TB cases

The US TB rate for 2011 was the lowest level since national reporting began in 1953. But despite this, the report claims that the disease is difficult to tame in some populations, especially among foreign-born individuals.

The number and rate of TB cases among foreign-born persons may have declined by 3% in 2011, but the difference between the proportion of US-born and foreign-born persons with TB continue to increase.

During the past 12 years, the proportion of TB cases occurring in Asians has increased steadily, from 20.5% in 2000 to 29.9% in 2011.

In 2011, more TB cases were reported among Asians than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States. Asians register a 21.4% rate, followed by Hispanics who register a far 5.9% rate.

As for the Philippines, it has been the second top country of origin of tuberculosis cases in the US since 1993, next only to Mexico.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that unless this trend is changed, the country will not be able to meet its goal–to have fewer than one case per one million people–until 2100.

“Addressing the increasing difference between TB rates in foreign-born and US-born persons is critical for TB elimination,” the agency said.

The report was released in line with the celebration of World TB Day on March 24, Saturday.

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