New TB cases lowest in decades

New cases of tuberculosis cases dropped nearly 7% in 1996, making it the lowest number of cases reported in at least 43 years, according to a finalized report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of cases for 1996 stood at 21,337, compared with 22,860 in 1995. The lowest number prior to 1996 was 22,201 recorded in 1985, when new cases hit a nadir from a high of 84,304 cases reported in 1953, the CDC reported. The number of TB deaths for 1996 — 1,341 — also was the lowest since 1953.

California had the highest number of cases at 4,313, followed by New York (2,588), Texas (2,103), Florida (1,417), Illinois (1,080), and New Jersey (820). Ranked by case rates, Hawaii was first (18.9 per 100,000), followed by Alaska (15.8), New York (14.2), Texas (11), and Georgia (10.7). (See insert for the case breakdown by state and the race/ethnicity breakdown by state. A complete set of tables is available at the CDC Internet site: tb/surv/surv96.htm)

Asian, Pacific Islanders highest case rates

Case rates by race, ethnicity, gender, and age showed that for all ages Asian/Pacific Islanders had the highest with 48 per 100,000 for males and 35.5 per 100,000 for females. Blacks rated next highest (30.5 for males; 14.9 for females), followed closely by Hispanics (18.8 males; 10.4 females). The rate for whites was 3.9 for males and 1.8 for females. (See list of tuberculosis cases by race/ethnicity, gender, and age for 1996, below left.)