Mississippi's TB Rate Has Fallen Below National Average - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi's TB Rate Has Fallen Below National Average

Mississippi's tuberculosis case rate has fallen below the national average for the first time in over 30 years, according Department of Health statistics.

Mississippi's 2001 TB rate of 5.4 cases per 100,000 population is the state's lowest since 1969, State Health Officer Ed Thompson said Thursday.

The nation's 2001 TB rate is 5.6 per 100,000, a 2 percent drop over the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The number of cases in Mississippi has declined since the early 1980s, when the state ranked second highest in the nation, Thompson said.

The disease has been in decline nationwide since the early 1900s, when TB was one of the top 10 killers in the United States, Thompson said.

"The problem is TB is not eliminated and if we get complacent ... then it will go back up,'' Thompson said.

"That's hard to do when you only have a hundred or two (hundred) cases a year and you can't get people excited about funding it because they don't know anybody who's had TB lately,'' he said.

He attributes the state's success in controlling the disease to persistent public health workers. Patients who have been exposed to TB are treated before they start showing symptoms, helping to prevent the transmission of the disease, Thompson said.

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