In March of this year, the CDC released its latest calculations indicating the overall number of reported cases of Tuberculosis (TB) continues to decline in the U.S. In fact, the number of TB cases reported has declined steadily since 1992.1 However, the 2014 numbers indicate a decline of only 2.2 percent — the smallest gain on the disease in over a decade.
Why such a small decline?
More efforts need to be made to eliminate TB in specific populations. According to the CDC, of the 9,412 new TB cases reported in 2014, 6,181 (66.5%) were of persons with known foreign-national origin, a 1.5 percent increase over 2013. In fact, the rate case among foreign-born persons in the United States in 2014 was 13.4 times higher than among U.S.-born individuals.1
The higher number of people with TB who are foreign-born compared to those who were born in the U.S. shows the impact global disease patterns can have on the U.S. Even if we eliminate, or virtually eliminate, a disease in the U.S., we are still vulnerable to people coming into our country with the disease. This has been illustrated recently with the spread of measles in the US. According to the CDC, the far-reaching effect of TB “reaffirms the need to support and strengthen TB control efforts abroad, especially in the countries of origin of immigrants to the United States.” 1
To further reduce TB, concentrated efforts need to be made in four states –California, Texas, New York, and Florida — representing approximately one-third of the U.S. population and accounting for half of all TB cases reported in 2014. Progress towards TB elimination in the United States will require focused efforts among populations and in geographic areas with disproportionate burdens of TB.2
Using the right tool for the job
The CDC has established different TB risk classifications because healthcare facilities in different areas face different levels of risk. In keeping with tuberculosis recommendations for healthcare settings set forth by the CDC, IntelliCentrics offers a Low-Risk TB credential choice. Facilities use the CDC’s TB Risk Assessment Worksheet to determine if they are a Low, Medium, or Potential Ongoing risk transmission classification. As a result of this choice, the recommended procedures to prevent the transmission of TB are determined by risk classification and are set by the individual facility. To date, 86 facilities have taken advantage of this credential option that is available for facilities where patients with TB are not expected to be encountered. The option allows low-risk facilities to require only one TB test from members instead of a yearly test. By utilizing our Low-Risk TB option, facilities can save IntelliCentrics members time, money, and possibly unnecessary medical testing.
Through the experience, you’ll be able to determine the best credential set for everyone in your facility from physicians to volunteers. monitors the compliance standards from 13 regulatory bodies, so you can ensure a safe and environment. Plus, will incorporate your facility’s own policies and provide bench marks from facilities around the country, so you can compare your requirements to other facilities in your area and across the country.