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HEALTH STATUS - Tuberculosis

Hawai`i Highest in TB Cases: Hawai'i ranks No. 1 with the highest rate of tuberculosis (TB) in the United States. Hawai'i's tuberculosis rate is more than eight times greater than the "Healthy People 2020" objective. According to the Department of Health, the higher TB rate in Hawai'i is greatly affected by immigration from countries in the Asia-Pacific region, where prevalence of the disease is high. In addition, there has also been an increase in drug resistant TB cases. Nevertheless, progress is being made. The 2011 rate for both Hawai'i and the nation is among the lowest rates reported in the past 30 years.

Effects of Immigration:  Immigration, primarily from Asia and the Pacific Islands, has a major impact of Hawai'i's TB morbidity.  Screening by state TB clinics in 2006 of non-U.S. born clients, found that almost 40percent had latent TB infections.

In 2009, 85.5 percent of the states' new TB cases were non-U.S. born individuals.  Persons born in the Philippines accounted for 62 percent of the non-U.S. born cases, followed by those born in the Federated States of Micronesia (10%) and the Republic of Marshall Islands (8%).1

Controlling TB: Elimination of TB depends on significant effort and cooperation between public and private health care providers and agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. Strategies to combat the disease include improving laboratories, strengthening surveillance, improving treatment, and expediting investigation of close contacts of TB patients.2

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Source: Hawai`i State Department of Health, Tuberculosis/Hansen's Disease Control Branch, Records.; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Summary of Notifiable Diseases.