Tuberculosis (TB) has reached a historic low in New York City with 1,039 cases reported in 2004, according to preliminary data presented today by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). This represents a 9% drop from the previous year and an overall decline of 73% since the peak of the epidemic in 1992, when more than 3,800 cases were reported. TB continues to disproportionately affect the foreign-born, who represented 705 (68%) of the cases reported in 2004. However, New York City's TB rate (13 per 100,000 population) remains more than double the national rate (4.9).

The World Health Organization, which observes World TB Day each year on March 24, has chosen the theme of "Honoring Frontline Workers" this year. DOHMH and partners will be honoring several staff whose efforts have been and continue to be critical to treating and curing TB patients in New York City.

DOHMH Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH said, "Fifteen years ago, TB was epidemic in New York City. Now, we have the lowest number of cases ever reported. This is due, in no small part, to the hard work of so many who work hard every day to provide excellent services to persons with tuberculosis in order to help them get cured, and to stop the spread of disease."

The number of U.S. born TB cases decreased by nearly 90% from 3,132 in 1992 to 332 in 2004. TB largely affects the foreign-born. With 705 out of 1,039 (68%) cases reported in 2004, foreign-born individuals continue to account for the majority of new cases of TB in New York City. Of foreign-born individuals diagnosed with TB in the past five years, the most common countries of origin have been China (including the People's Republic of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong), Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and India.

"While tremendous overall strides have been made, TB continues to largely affect immigrant groups, particularly of Asian and Hispanic descent," said Sonal Munsiff, MD, Assistant Commissioner for TB Control. "Although there has been a decrease overall, cases in some sections of the City have not changed significantly over the past few years, reflecting the presence of large immigrant communities from countries with high rates of TB. We are working closely with immigrant communities citywide to let them know that, like all of our services, TB screenings and treatment are free and confidential, and provided irrespective of immigration status."�. CONTINUES���

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