Tuberculosis :: Epidemiology of TB – Updates from CDC studies to be presented at ATS 2007

The latest research from two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies looking at the epidemiology of tuberculosis (TB) in the United States will be presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference on Sunday, May 20, in San Francisco. The studies focus on two groups with higher-than-average rates of TB: foreign-born persons and African-Americans living in the southeastern United States.

The session, which the media is invited to cover, will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 132 at the Moscone Center.

?We?re doing pretty well all over the United States in eliminating tuberculosis, but among people who are born in a foreign country, the incidence of TB is declining much more slowly,? says Dolly Katz, Ph.D., M.P.H., who will present data from the CDC?s study on the Epidemiology of TB in Foreign-Born Persons in the United States. ?The incidence of TB is nine times higher in foreign-born persons than in U.S-born persons, which indicates a problem,? she says. ?We really don?t know very much about the circumstances of foreign-born people who have TB.?

Current surveillance information provides very minimal information, she points out. ?We decided to do a study of foreign-born people with TB to get a better picture of TB among this population.?

The study was conducted at 22 sites in the United States and Canada, and included about 1,700 foreign-born people with TB, including 200 children. The researchers interviewed subjects for an hour, asking questions including:

What kind of symptoms did you have before you came to the doctor”
How long did the symptoms last”
Did you treat yourself, go to an emergency room, or a doctor, or a healer”
When you went for treatment, what tests and treatments were you given”
How was your illness explained to you by the doctor”
What language did the doctor use in talking to you”
What happened to you next” Where did you go for further treatment”
Did you have a TB test before you came to the United States” What did they tell you results were”
What did you know about TB” Do you think it?s a serious illness”
Were you scared to go to doctor”
Do you think you?re in control of curing your disease”

Dr. Katz will present preliminary results of the data at the ATS Conference. ?The findings are going to help us focus on where we can improve our outreach and control efforts, and give us places to focus our efforts on enhanced prevention and control.?

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