Tuberculosis cases climbed again in 2022, U.S. health officials announced Thursday.
Still, the 5% increase, which amounted to 8,300 cases, didn't reach higher pre-pandemic numbers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The message is loud and clear — TB is still here. For the second year in a row, TB disease cases in the U.S. have continued to rise, with concerning increases among young children and other groups at increased risk for TB disease,” Dr. Philip LoBue, director of the CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, said in an agency news release.
“Communities, providers and public health partners must work together to make sure we are reaching the right people with testing and treatment, so we can prevent and stop the spread of TB,” LoBue added.
The CDC is asking health care providers to think about TB when examining patients, to test for the disease and to treat it.
Certain groups are showing considerable increases in cases, including children aged 4 and younger. The CDC is particularly concerned about these cases because they usually result from recent transmission rather than reactivation of longstanding latent TB infection.
Also increasing is TB among incarcerated people. This highlights the importance of entry and annual screening in prisons, the CDC said. Also needed is prompt evaluation of people with TB symptoms in these settings.
Cases are also growing in people from some racial and ethnic groups, highlighting the importance of increasing TB prevention services in communities at risk for TB, the CDC said.
Public health officials had been concerned about delayed or missed diagnoses of TB disease in 2020, after a substantial 20% decline that year.
The World Health Organization has more on tuberculosis.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, March 23, 2023