TB cases in New York City hit record low

While tuberculosis cases have hit a record low in New York City, the disease is still causing many cases in Chinese and Ecuadoran communities within the city.

Health officials said that the rise in immigrant cases is a result of them bringing the contagious lung disease to the country from their homelands, NY Daily News reports. Doctors suspect that the disease is initially dormant among those who immigrate to the U.S.

"The TB we are seeing now is driven by a global epidemic," Chrispin Kambili, director of tuberculosis control for the city's health department, said, according to NY Daily News. “We've been really good at stopping the local transmission of tuberculosis, but our challenge is to identify new cases quickly.”

A TB test is required for permanent immigration, but those who arrive illegally or for school alone may not get the pinprick exam. Health officials have put early treatment to avoid spreading the disease at a high priority, but have said that TB often goes diagnosed because sufferers are undocumented, poor or leery of government.

Last year, there were 711 documented patients in New York City, which is the fewest in the city’s history. Fifteen percent of the infected were Chinese, six percent were Ecuadoran, six percent were Dominican, five percent were Mexicans and four percent were Bangladeshi.