According to The Daily Mail, data indicates that New York City has seen approximately 500 newly diagnosed tuberculosis cases in 2023, marking a 20% rise in cases compared to the same period last year.
NYC health dept employees "who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly."
TB outbreak is worrying but so is the fact that our health officials are muzzled about it. https://t.co/CnXKiPxKTu
— Amy Maxmen, PhD (@amymaxmen) October 5, 2023
The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the city has reached its highest levels in over a decade, raising concerns about the potential spread of the disease to other regions. Several health experts have attributed this increase to COVID-19 fatigue, as more individuals are avoiding clinics and treatments.
Another potential factor contributing to the sudden increase in TB cases is the migrant crisis in New York City. Over 100,000 migrants have arrived in the city since spring, and a significant portion of them lack the necessary vaccinations that could help reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
Elizabeth Lovinger, who serves as the health policy director at Treatment Action Group, a public health advocacy organization specializing in TB, said, “When there are particularly high spikes in TB and other infectious diseases in New York City, that tends to be kind of a bellwether for the rest of the country.”
TB experts are particularly troubled by the situation in New York City, as there has been a significant reduction in efforts to combat the disease since its last major outbreak in the early 1990s.
Budget cuts from the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control could lead to another increase in cases in New York City. The disease has been relatively rare in the U.S. since its surge during the AIDS epidemic, but it remains a significant cause of death worldwide, particularly in less developed nations.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that can spread through the air and become life-threatening without proper treatment.
Migrants could be both vulnerable to developing the disease and potential carriers of it. However, as of now, the city has not announced any measures to address the increase in cases.