Tuberculosis Reached Record US Low, Says CDC: Global Threat Remains

By Hilda Scott , Mar 21, 2013 04:31 PM EDT

(Update 1:21 PM EST March 23) According to the CDC, in the U.S. "There were 127 total cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB reported in 2011 (the most recent year available), which is TB that is resistant to at least two of the best anti-TB drugs.  However, there was one case of extensively-drug resistant (XDR) TB reported in 2012 (XDR TB is a relatively rare form of MDR TB that is resistant to several of the first and second line drugs used for treatment)."

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that tuberculosis (TB) reached a record low in the U.S. The total number of cases reported is on a decline, compared to reports from previous years. TB is caused by a bacteria that attacks the lungs, but can also attack the kidney, spine and brain. If not treated properly, TB can be fatal. 

Records for TB were first compiled in 1953 and for the first time since then, a record low was reported in the U.S. The numbers of reported cases were less than 10,000. As reported by Medical Xpress, a total of 9,951 cases were recorded, which made it a 6.1 percent decrease from 2011. The reported number of TB cases over the last 20 years is on a declining trend. The CDC said there was only one drug resistant report of TB last year. Worldwide, TB still remains a threat and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned about drug-resistant TB on Monday.  

"It is critical that we raise the funding that is urgently needed to control this disease," said Dr Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund. "If we don't act now, our costs could skyrocket. It is invest now or pay forever."

The Global Fund provides international funding for TB and must raise more money for the increasing threat of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

"We are treading water at a time when we desperately need to scale up our response to MDR-TB. We have gained a lot of ground in TB control through international collaboration, but it can easily be lost if we do not act now," said Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO.

The WHO said that although the overall reports cases of TB have declined, it still kills about 1.4 million people each year. In South Africa, there have been numerous reports of TB that are totally drug resistant. 

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