SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Bay Area health leaders held a joint news conference in San Jose Thursday to raise awareness about tuberculosis, and the fact that we have one of the highest TB rates of any metropolitan area in the country.

Contra Costa County saw 60 cases last year, compared to only 33 in 2010. Dr. Charles Crane, medical director for TB in Contra Costa, said that nearly half of the cases occurred in west county.

”This has historically been the region of Contra Costa, which includes the city of Richmond and San Pablo, where we’re have the highest number of cases,” said Crane. “We did see that, pretty much, the increase was going on in that part of the county.”

Santa Clara County, meanwhile, saw 181 cases, which is a slight drop, but County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said that number is still way too high.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

”In 2010 we had 26 deaths due to tuberculosis,” said Fenstersheib. “These were in people that had a lot of other chronic illnesses going on also. They were people who were quite ill.”

Statewide, the numbers have been dropping, according to Dr. Jennifer Flood, TB controller for the State Of California.

”Today we really want the community to be aware that TB continues to be a problem,” she said.

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