By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was a time when tuberculosis was a major killer in this country.

The odds are quite strong that if you look back in your family’s history, you might find relatives who
died as a result of complications from tuberculosis.

Although we don’t hear a great deal about tuberculosis today, the question remains, where are we
in this centuries old battle?

Well, the Center for Disease Control says there is good news and bad news about tuberculosis in the
United States.

The good news is that tuberculosis incidences in 2016 were the lowest seen since reporting began
in 1953.

So what’s the bad news?

The incidence is still high enough that it will take decades to eradicate the disease.

The big problem is people with so-called “latent disease” where tuberculosis is still in their system.

According to statistics, more than 85% of the United States’ tuberculosis cases are associated
with reactivation of latent tuberculosis infection.

These people need aggressive treatment because 10% of them will develop active
tuberculosis that can be spread.

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