Drug-Resistant TB Continues in California
Experts Say Tuberculosis Continues to Be a Global Problem
Efforts Failing continued...
Patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis are four times more likely to die
than patients with standard tuberculosis. Forty-nine of the California
patients, or 14%, died from their drug-resistant infections, according to the
study, published in the Tuesday issue of The Journal of the American
A total of 233 Americans died in 2003 from all forms of tuberculosis. That
pales in comparison to death rates in developing nations, where tuberculosis
often infects up to one-third of the population, according to the CDC.
Tuberculosis Not Just in Cities
Epidemiologists have long observed that tuberculosis tends to concentrate in
urban centers. But researchers were alarmed by findings showing reports of
multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in more than half of California's health
jurisdictions, including several rural counties.
"Multidrug-resistant TB has spread across the state," Granich
Researchers call for stronger efforts aimed at identifying and treating
tuberculosis overseas, noting that the majority of infected persons in the
California study were from foreign countries. They also note that one-third of
multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients in California did not complete their
treatment and that officials must step up efforts to improve complete treatment
of the disease.
Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, editor of JAMA, told reporters that
relatively low domestic tuberculosis rates have convinced much of the public
that the disease is no longer a threat in the U.S. But worldwide tuberculosis
infection rates are 33 times higher than those for HIV.
"Don't get too comfortable. It is a global problem," she says.