Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), announced today that tuberculosis (TB) in California declined last year to its lowest level on record.
“State and local efforts to combat TB are proving effective, but we must be mindful that a reversal of that trend will occur if we fail to aggressively confront the disease,” Horton said. His remarks were made as California observes World TB Day, March 24, 2009.
The incidence of TB decreased from 7.2 cases for every 100,000 persons in 2007 to 7.0 cases in 2008. The number of cases of TB dropped from 2,725 in 2007 to 2,696 in 2008. Despite these declines, the incidence of TB in California remains one of the highest in the nation and is more than 60 percent greater than the national average.
“It is essential for us to ensure that everyone with TB in California is diagnosed quickly and treated effectively so that TB is not spread further in the community,” Horton said.
Among California’s ethnic populations, the incidence of TB in 2008 was: Asian/Pacific Islander, 22.9 cases for every 100,000 residents; Black, 8.7; Hispanic, 7.6; American Indian/Alaska Native, 1.8; White, 1.6.
In California, front line TB control activities are conducted by local health departments in close partnership with CDPH. These activities include identifying cases of TB, ensuring that patients are appropriately treated and isolated if necessary, providing directly observed therapy to confirm that patients complete treatment and evaluating persons exposed to infectious TB.
More information about TB and efforts to stop the disease in California visit CDPH’s Web site: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/tb/Pages/default.aspx.