CDC Reports Tuberculosis Concerns

The Centers for Disease Control reports the rate of drug resistant tuberculosis increased 13 percent in the United States between 2003 and 2004. That's the largest increase since tracking began for the drug-resistant form of TB in 1993. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports ...

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Texas saw a slight decrease in overall TB cases ... but not along the border. Doctor Kenneth Castro directs the TB Elimination Division at the Centers for Disease Control. He says Mexico has a higher rate of TB than the US.

"When you look at the group 25 percent are from Mexico ... geogrpahic proximity and cross border migration."

Doctor Eduardo Olivarez is Chief Administrative Officer for Hidalgo County Health Department. He says his clinic along the border has been dealing with a 25 percent increase in TB cases with many of them being drug resistant.

"Unfortunately the incidents of pediatriac HIV related tubercu ... affliated with diabetes."

Health officials say the increase in drug resistant TB is happening at a time when funding to fight the disease has been flat or falling. CDC funding for TB control has dropped 17 percent over the past decade. Worldwide the rate of TB continues to increase at a rate of about one percent. World Health Organization officials say in 2004, 1.7 million people died of TB with nine million new cases reported. Officials say TB is the number one killer of people with AIDS. Again Doctor Castro with the CDC.

"I think what you see throughout the globe is a level of complacency because ... turn of the 20th century. prematurely declare victory."

The overall number of TB cases in the US declined by four percent to the lowest case number since tracking began in 1953. But Castro notes that's the smallest decline from one year to the next since tracking began in 1953. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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