TB in the United States
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TB in the United States

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    Tuberculosis (TB) is preventable and curable but remains one of the world’s leading infectious disease killers. The United States has one of the lowest TB disease case rates in the world, thanks to investments in domestic TB programs. Health departments and CDC TB control efforts prevented as many as 300,000 people from developing TB disease and averted up to $14.5 billion in costs over a 20-year period. However, preliminary CDC data suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial effect on TB disease.

    CDC data show that reported TB disease diagnoses fell 20% in 2020 and remained 13% lower in 2021 than pre-pandemic levels. These declines may be related to factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including a true reduction in TB incidence as well as missed or delayed TB disease diagnoses. For example, efforts to prevent COVID-19 may also reduce TB. Other factors include widespread disruptions to health care and similarities in symptoms between COVID-19 and TB disease.

    Health care and public health systems must be restored and strengthened to address TB disease in the wake of COVID-19. We must continue to ensure correct and timely diagnoses, focus on essential TB prevention and control activities, and expand services equitably to address persistent disparities in TB. With better diagnostic tests, shorter treatments, and updated guidelines to assist healthcare providers, the nation has a greater opportunity than ever before to eliminate TB.

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