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Global Pattersn of Tuberculosis

Health Newsfeed # 1459

Americans are sometimes accused of ignorance about disease epidemics elsewhere in the world simply because they’re not epidemics here.

Tuberculosis is at record levels worldwide. It’s easily spread among people through the air, causing weight loss, persistent coughing, fevers and weakness or fatigue. According to the World Health Organization it affects one-third of Earth’s population. Yet in the U.S., reported cases are lower than ever, with one exception. A leading medical journal recently reported that tuberculosis rates are not falling among foreign-born immigrants to the U.S. This despite screening tests designed to detect TB at the borders. Johns Hopkins infectious diseases expert Dr. Bill Bishai.

However, the screening is not failsafe. And so, in spite of our best efforts, I think there are plenty of ways in which individuals can bring TB, particularly latent TB, with them to the United States. :11

Dr. Bishai says it underscores the need to think beyond our own borders and deal with tuberculosis as a worldwide problem.

At the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, I'm Tom Haederle reporting.

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