Staying Power

Treatment programs against tuberculosis have largely kept the potentially fatal airborne disease under control in the U.S.—the incidence has been dropping steadily since 1992. But the disease's persistence worldwide and multidrug-resistant strains, created perhaps by incomplete courses of antibiotics, still pose challenges. A study examining data between 1994 and 2003 (the latest available) in California, the state with the greatest number of cases, highlights the issues.

Number of U.S. tuberculosis cases, 2003: 14,874

California cases: 3,224

Percent with multidrug-resistant strains: 1.4

Percent dying: 14

Among those who are HIV-positive: 90

Cost to treat someone with multidrug-resistant TB: $28,217 to $1,278,066

Percent of resistant cases born outside the U.S.: 83

Number of foreign-born cases, per 100,000 people: 3.5

Number among U.S.-born cases: 0.2

Percent of patients who reported previous bout of TB: 6

Among those with multidrug-resistant TB: 31

SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Journal of the American Medical Association, June 8, 2005