Report: 86% of TB cases in NYC are foreign-born Americans

A new article from The New York Post outlines how the current spike in TB is affecting foreign-born Americans.

New York Post:

The number of tuberculosis cases in New York City suddenly jumped by 10 percent last year — the largest increase since 1992, according to the Health Department.

TB is a highly infectious bacterial disease that largely attacks the lungs, but can also infect and spread to other organs, including the kidneys, spine or brain.

There were 613 reported cases in 2017, compared to 556 in 2016.

TB has been on the decline in the city since peaking at 3,811 cases in 1992.

In an alert to medical professionals Monday, the Health Department offered no explanation for the surge.

People at high risk for TB include substance abusers and people with HIV.

The alert urges doctors to test high-risk patients for TB. Chest imaging is used to see if someone tests positive for the disease.

Symptoms include fever, coughing and coughing up blood, night sweats and weight loss.

“The TB rate in NYC is 7.5 per 100,000 persons, more than double the provisional 2017 national rate of 2.8 per 100,000 persons,” said Joseph Burzynski, assistant commissioner and director of the Bureau of TB Control.

Sixty-three percent of TB cases occurred among males.

TB disproportionately affects foreign-born New Yorkers — accounting for 86 percent of all cases in the city.

Many of the infected city residents came from China, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India or Mexico.

Queens is the borough with the highest TB incidence in 2017, with a rate of 10.6 per 100,000.

The neighborhoods with the highest rates were Sunset Park, Brooklyn (23.2 per 100,000 persons), western Queens (19.2 per 100,000 persons) and Flushing, Queens (16.2 per 100,000 persons).

Health officials advise that patients should be tested for TB if they spent time with someone who has TB, traveled to other countries, or have medical conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV.

This showcases a part of immigration that is rarely ever talked about. People immigrating to this country may very well have diseases and should be properly checked before coming in. As we reported Somali refugees in Minnesota brought with them diseases that had not been seen in Minnesota for years.

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