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US Goal Of Eliminating TB Falls Short

March 25, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fell short of its goal of eradicating tuberculosis (TB) by the year 2010, health officials told AFP recently, despite the number of reported cases being at an all-time low.

The CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found 11,181 known cases of the airborne and highly contagious disease in the US last year, a 3.9 percent drop from 2009.

Tuberculosis is caused by the mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium and usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body but can be cured with antibiotics.

Treatment of TB requires six to nine months to eliminate the microorganism completely from the body. Many people do not complete the full treatment, which can lead to drug-resistant strains of the disease being spread.

Foreign-born people were 11 times as likely to have TB as those born in the United States, CDC officials explained and the majority of those cases originated from either Mexico, Vietnam, India or the Philippines.

Ethnic minority groups suffered the majority of TB rates among, with Hispanics, blacks and Asians being seven, eight and 25 times higher infection rates as Caucasians.

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