Santa Clara County Leads State in New TB Cases
Santa Clara County had the most new cases of tuberculosis of any county in California and follows only San Francisco and Imperial counties in total number of TB infections, the San Jose Mercury News reports. There were 29 new cases of TB in Santa Clara County in 2006, pushing the overall number to 228 for the year.
Marty Fenstersheib, public health officer for the county, attributed the increase largely to new immigrants from Southeast Asia. About 90% of new TB infections in the county occur in immigrants, with almost three-fourths of those cases occurring in people from Asia.
Two cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Santa Clara County are of particular concern to public health officials.
Two years of treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis can cost as much as $1.3 million, compared with $20,000 for a course of treatment for TB, according to Karen Fulton Holine, regional vice president of the American Lung Association of California (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 3/20).
Public health efforts in San Francisco have helped contain the number of TB cases there, but budget cuts could compromise its response organization and lead to an increase in TB cases, Jim Hunger, assistant to the director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health's TB Control Section, writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. He notes that San Francisco has the highest TB infection rate of cities in the U.S. and calls for Congress to approve appropriations bills that include funds for TB efforts (Hunger, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.