Tuberculosis Remains A Serious Health Problem In South Bay

SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KCBS) – While new data shows that the number of tuberculosis cases is declining in California, the same cannot be said for Santa Clara County.

Santa Clara County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Julie Higashi said almost one in every ten residents carries the tuberculosis bacteria, but doesn’t show symptoms of the disease. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area has the highest case rate of any large metropolitan area in the United States.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“11 cases per 100,000 people is about 2.5 times the U.S. rate. The United States is considered to be a low-burden country,” Higashi said. “It’s about 1.5 times the rate in California. But if you go to your typical country with a high TB rate, that’s going to be in the hundreds per 100,000.”

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said the reason the rate is so high in the South Bay is because many immigrants are coming from those high TB rate countries.

“In populations, especially in Asian countries, Central America and Mexico, we see an increased number of tuberculosis cases,” said Fenstersheib. “It’s places that have seen TB for decades and decades.”

There were almost 200 TB cases in Santa Clara County in 2010.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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