King County experienced a rise in the number of tuberculosis cases in the city last year. While the number of active cases numbers in the hundreds, there are about 100,000 people in the county with dormant TB.
According to a release from the county:
"Cases in the U.S. declined to an all-time low in 2009, but King County saw a rise in TB cases, and continues to see rates of active TB cases nearly double that of the United States as a whole, reflecting the ongoing challenge of controlling TB in a global community.
The number of people diagnosed with active TB in King County rose to 130 in 2009, from 121 cases in 2008; the county rate of 6.8 per 100,000 people compares to the national rate of 3.8 per 100,000. More than eighty percent of active TB cases in King County were born outside the United States. Globally, TB is an ongoing epidemic that infects one-third of the world's population and kills two million people worldwide every year.
Because of budget cuts over the past two years, the TB Control Program has reduced staff and now limits services to the highest priority cases and contacts. Multi-drug resistant forms of the disease, which flourish in communities where the disease is not well controlled, cost approximately $250,000 per person to cure."
"King County is not immune from the global TB epidemic. That's why investments in our TB program continue to be critical to control its spread here, and prevent the development of multi-drug resistant strains that are very expensive to treat," said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Public Health Officer for Public Health. "We are doing the best we can to hold back the spread of TB, but it has been challenging given the program cuts we've had to make over the past several years in this difficult budget climate."
Additional key findings from the 2009 Annual Report:
84% of infected individuals were born outside of the U.S., primarily Southeast Asia and India, East Africa and Central America.
All non-white races continue to have disproportionately high rates of TB.
18 people (13%) treated for active TB were resistant to at least one TB medication.
To read more about the 2009 Annual Report on Tuberculosis for King County, visit www.kingcounty.gov/health/tb.