With a total of 613 confirmed cases of tuberculosis, New York City has seen the largest increase in the number of TB patients over the past 25 years.
This figure also posts as the first increase noted by the NYC Health Department's Bureau of Tuberculosis Control since the year 2003.
In contrast, there were only 556 verified cases in 2016. During such year, the incidence rate was at 6.8 percent for every 100,000 people. Now, it has risen to 7.5 percent.
Details Of The Bureau's Annual Summary Of Tuberculosis In NYC
What's even more shocking is that 86 percent of these cases have been reported in patients who are not born in the United States.
Among the 75 countries represented by New Yorkers infected by the deadly disease, 116 patients were born in China; 42 in Mexico; 38 in India; and 36 in Ecuador.
Furthermore, the bureau's data reveals that confirmed TB cases have been noted in almost all neighborhoods within NYC.
To be specific, 63 percent of the patients are male and the age group most affected by the disease are people between the ages of 18 and 44. Fortunately, only 3 percent has been reported among children.
Multidrug-resistant TB And Extensively Drug-Resistant TB Cases
According to Bureau of Tuberculosis Control Assistant Commissioner Joseph Burzynski, 14 patients presented multidrug-resistant TB, including one patient with an extensively drug-resistant case and five others with a resistance that is a single drug away from XDR TB.
The CDC defines MDR TB as a disease caused by an organism resistant to the two most powerful anti-TB drugs, isoniazid, and rifampin. Both of these drugs are used in the treatment of all patients who are positive for TB.
Meanwhile, XDR TB is considered as a rare kind of MDR TB that is not only resistant to isoniazid and rifampin but also to fluoroquinolone and to any of the three injectable second-line anti-TB drugs, amikacin, kanamycin, and capreomycin.
Because the organism behind XDR TB cannot be addressed by the most potent anti-TB drugs, patients are made to choose among less effective treatment options.
NYC Health Department's Plan In Fighting Tuberculosis
"We must continue to work alongside communities to increase access to quality care, maintain our critical public health infrastructure in the face of funding challenges, invest in research and strengthen our collaborations with... health care providers, laboratories, and patients," says Burzynski in an accompanying statement issued March 24.
He adds that the NYC Health Department's chest clinics offer free diagnostics and treatment for TB patients regardless of their immigration status.
There are five TB chest centers throughout NYC. Those who wish to avail of their services must call beforehand to set an appointment for a consultation.