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U.S. Reports 4th Straight Drop in New TB Cases

March 25, 1997|Associated Press

NEW YORK — The number of new tuberculosis cases in the United States dropped last year to the lowest level since record-keeping began in the 1950s, the federal government announced Monday.

It was the fourth straight year of decline, suggesting the nation is recovering from a rise in TB from the mid-80s to 1992, officials said.

"We're on the right track toward the elimination of tuberculosis in this country," said Dr. Ken Castro of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We now have the rare opportunity to eliminate tuberculosis in the United States."

However, he and others at a New York news conference cautioned against relaxing the fight against the disease, saying that's what made TB surge in the 1980s after a long decline.

Castro noted that 20 states and the District of Columbia showed either no reduction or an increase from 1995 to 1996, and that sporadic outbreaks of drug-resistant TB continue to be reported.

Last year's nationwide count of new TB cases was 21,327, down nearly 7% from 1995.

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