ACET TB Elimination Workgroup adjusts TB elimination goal

At the recent meeting of the Advisory council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, the ACET TB Elimination Workgroup presented a progress report on their efforts.

The council discussed if TB elimination should be retained as a national goal and if so, how and by when. If this is no longer feasible, the council was tasked with devising a new goal.

In 1989 the CDC and ACET issued “A Strategic Plan for the Elimination of TB in the United States." This established a goal of TB elimination, defined as a case load of less than one infection per one million people by 2010. An interim goal set a target of 3.5 cases per 100,000 people in the year 2000.

Unfortunately, the 1990s saw a strong resurgence of TB along with the emergence of difficult to treat multi-drug resistant TB. Due to these factors, the goals were not met. According to CDC Data and Statistics, a rate of 3.6 cases per 100,000 persons was reported in the United States in 2010.

In spite of the increased challenges faced, the ACET Work group still feels that elimination of TB in the United States is an achievable goal. The current suggestion by the work group is that the United States healthcare community align its goals with those of the World Health Organization and the European Union. This would mean aiming for the elimination of TB by the year 2050.  

Mathematical models suggest that this is a reasonable and achievable goal. In order to reach that goal, however, there must be adequate funding for this element of public health, strong motivation on the part of healthcare providers and effective education of the public.