The Department of Health reported that 536 people had tuberculosis in New York City in 2022, a rate of 6.1 cases per 100,000 people, a return to pre-pandemic cases.
In a report published on World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, which was celebrated this Friday, March 24, it was determined that 88% of cases among people originated outside the United States. Additionally, 79% of people with the disease are African-American or Hispanic. While 8% of people diagnosed died before or during treatment.
“Tuberculosis continues to be one of the world’s most serious diseases, despite having the tools to detect and treat it,” Dr. Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said.
According to the department, the city’s tuberculosis rate is more than twice the national rate. Surveillance of the diagnosis of this disease in the neighborhoods showed that Queens had the highest rate -22.4 per 100,000 inhabitants – more than three times that rate of the rest of the city.
The most common countries of birth for TB patients born outside the United States, according to the study, are: China, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador and Guyana.
It also shows the incidence of the disease among immigrants in general, especially among groups of asylum seekers recently brought to the city, living in shelters and in precarious housing conditions.
The authors point out that the study is based on data that is available until January 15, 2023. They clearly highlight that New York City, between 2020 and 2021, was the epicenter in the region of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was overwhelming for health. care system that has resulted in an unusual and, until now, impact on tuberculosis transmission, diagnosis, and care. For these reasons, the report focuses on data for 2022, and will compare with previous years, 2019.
Optimistic rapid treatment
Even with these numbers, Dr. Vasan commented that the New York City Health Department was the first in the country to offer a new four-month treatment for tuberculosis.
In May 2022, it began offering this new drug for the treatment of drug-sensitive TB patients. The first patient successfully completed this shorter diet, which is also safe and effective, so that TB patients have an easy experience of treatment, more cost-effective, and is now available in all Department of Health facilities for this disease.
“We continue to lead when it comes to bold and innovative approaches to treating New Yorkers with TB,” said the ambassador, acknowledging the need to change the course of this disease on a global scale.
The Department of Health says that the city has not only returned to pre-pandemic levels of TB programming in the past year, but also made improvements to the public sector, including the aforementioned four-month treatment regime. Generally, the treatment of patients with active disease takes six to nine months.
Mike Frick, public health expert and co-director of the task force for the treatment of Tuberculosis Project, the four-month regimen developed by research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health, is a true scientific breakthrough.
“After decades of trying, we finally have a government that can cure people with TB in less than six months. New York is one of the first cities in the world to offer it, and I would like more cities to follow,” said Frick.
It remains to be seen, the expert said, the price of rifapentine, one of the key drugs to use in training. He suggested that the value of this drug may need to come down so that TB treatment programs can give four months of treatment in more ways.
Discover a new campaign
The Department of Health announced the implementation of the Address Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) campaign, which aims to increase screening, diagnosis and treatment among New Yorkers at risk.
An initiative to identify and treat cases of LTBI seeks to prevent people from actively developing the disease. Health Department officials will make individual visits with primary care and family medicine providers in neighborhoods that experience an unequal burden of TB and other health disparities.
Officials will receive the Hidden TB Infection Kit, which contains resources for relevant care teams, topics in their work-based practices, assisting patients in receiving care, and how to navigate through the health system if at risk or diagnosed with LTBI. These materials will also be available in several languages on the Department of Health Website.
Dr. Joseph Burzynski, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Tuberculosis Control, emphasized that the new mission reflects the continuing need for equitable access to TB diagnosis and care.
“Active TB is a preventable disease, so our job is to make sure people get the screening, testing and care services they need,” Burzynski said.
What is this disease and how is it transmitted?
The CDC official states that tuberculosis or TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they also attack other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, spine and brain. Not everyone who is infected with the TB bacteria gets sick. So there are two conditions: latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and tuberculosis disease. If not properly cared for, it can be fatal.
Tuberculosis bacteria are passed from person to person through the air. These bacteria are released into the air when a person with TB lung or throat disease coughs, sneezes, talks or sings. People can inhale these bacteria and become infected. When a person inhales TB bacteria, they can take up residence in the lungs and begin to multiply. From there, the bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, spine and brain.
Tuberculosis can be contagious in the lungs or throat. This means that the bacteria can be transferred to other people. Tuberculosis, which affects other parts of the body, such as the kidneys or the spine, is usually contagious.
People with TB disease are more likely to turn to the public. This includes family, friends, and co-workers or classmates.
Not between immigrants and asylum seekers
The initiative to slow the spread of tuberculosis led the Department of Health to increase access to tuberculosis tests and evaluations for thousands of new immigrants, including asylum seekers and people who entered the United States through Ukraine and other refugee groups.
According to the report, this is working closely with community organizations to provide free TB testing at community events and shelters.
Health authorities have recalled that people who apply for permanent immigration or refugee status must undergo TB screening tests as part of their public medical examination. If the pre-immigration examination finds a clinical diagnosis of TB, the Class A designation is granted and the applicant cannot travel until treatment is complete or the patient is not infectious.
Since the spring of 2022, the City of New York, the destination has become unexpectedly a large number of asylum and humanitarian parolees, who are at risk of having or developing an active tuberculosis disease, so the Department of Health, communicates with common societies, health care. providers and other city agencies to provide access to TB testing, assessment and treatment for these groups and arrange access to physical and mental health care, social services, housing, immigration legal services and other resources.
If the findings suggest non-infectious TB, the applicant receives a Class B designation and travel permit, and the CDC designates the applicant’s destination city. The Destination City then indicates the person’s need for TB practices. The Department of Health is all immigrants and refugees who arrive in the city with Class B status.
Testing for TB treatment and care is confidential and free, and can be taken at three Department of Health TB treatment centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.
In addition, the agency recalled that it continues to use telehealth services, which have been greatly expanded during the pandemic. In 2022, 23% of patients had at least one telehealth appointment.
For more information
Go to the following address: nyc.gov/health/tb or call 311