TB cases in New Mexico failed to decline in the last two years

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, despite a decline in the number of tuberculosis cases in the United States in 2011, the amount of cases in New Mexico stayed the same.

Nationwide, cases of active TB declined six percent from 2010 to 2011, with 10,500 cases last year. In both 2010 and 2011, there were 49 active tuberculosis cases in New Mexico, the Daily Times reports.

"Tuberculosis is a preventable and treatable disease and the Department of Health's Tuberculosis Program is committed to ensuring that New Mexicans are provided with timely diagnosis and treatment," Catherine Torres, the cabinet secretary for the health department, said, according to the Daily Times.

According to the health department, foreign-born Hispanics and American Indians have a 16 percent mortality rate from the infection. The rest of the population has a much lower four percent mortality rate.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection most commonly affecting the lungs. Common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss, night sweats, fever, anorexia and a cough lasting more than three weeks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TB spreads through the air when a person with active TB sneezes, sings or speaks. This allows for nearby people to breathe in the bacteria and become infected.