Washington county sees twice the TB rate as nation

King County in Washington State has a tuberculosis rate that is twice that of the national average, a recent report has revealed.

While the number of TB cases in the United States fell to an all-time low in 2009, King County saw a rise in its number of cases to nearly double that of the United States as a whole. According to, this reflects the challenges of controlling TB in a global community.

The information comes at a time when the downturn in the economy has forced cuts to healthcare services, including the Seattle and King County TB Control program.

The number of people diagnosed with the active form of the disease in King County rose to 130 in 2009, up nine cases from the year before, reports. The county rate is 6.8 per 100,000 people, compared to the national rate of 3.8 per 100,000. More than 80 percent of those cases are in people born outside the United States.

Globally, TB infects one-third of the population and is responsible for the deaths of 2 million people every year.

“King County is not immune from the global TB epidemic," Dr. David Fleming, director and public health officer for public health, said, according to "That’s why investments in our TB program continue to be critical to control its spread here, and prevent the development of multi-drug resistant strains that are very expensive to treat. We are doing the best we can to hold back the spread of TB, but it has been challenging given the program cuts we’ve had to make over the past several years in this difficult budget climate.”