Abrupt Decline in Tuberculosis among Foreign-Born Persons in the United States
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Abrupt Decline in Tuberculosis among Foreign-Born Persons in the United States
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  • Alternative Title:
    PLoS One
  • Description:
    While the number of reported tuberculosis (TB) cases in the United States has declined over the past two decades, TB morbidity among foreign-born persons has remained persistently elevated. A recent unexpected decline in reported TB cases among foreign-born persons beginning in 2007 provided an opportunity to examine contributing factors and inform future TB control strategies. We investigated the relative influence of three factors on the decline: 1) changes in the size of the foreign-born population through immigration and emigration, 2) changes in distribution of country of origin among foreign-born persons, and 3) changes in the TB case rates among foreign-born subpopulations. Using data from the U.S. National Tuberculosis Surveillance System and the American Community Survey, we examined TB case counts, TB case rates, and population estimates, stratified by years since U.S. entry and country of origin. Regression modeling was used to assess statistically significant changes in trend. Among foreign-born recent entrants (<3 years since U.S. entry), we found a 39.5% decline (-1,013 cases) beginning in 2007 (P<0.05 compared to 2000-2007) and ending in 2011 (P<0.05 compared to 2011-2014). Among recent entrants from Mexico, 80.7% of the decline was attributable to a decrease in population, while the declines among recent entrants from the Philippines, India, Vietnam, and China were almost exclusively (95.5%-100%) the result of decreases in TB case rates. Among foreign-born non-recent entrants (≥3 years since U.S. entry), we found an 8.9% decline (-443 cases) that resulted entirely (100%) from a decrease in the TB case rate. Both recent and non-recent entrants contributed to the decline in TB cases; factors contributing to the decline among recent entrants varied by country of origin. Strategies that impact both recent and non-recent entrants (e.g., investment in overseas TB control) as well as those that focus on non-recent entrants (e.g., expanded targeted testing of high-risk subgroups among non-recent entrants) will be necessary to achieve further declines in TB morbidity among foreign-born persons.
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