TB Cases Increase in Pasadena, Long Beach

Although the number of tuberculosis cases has dropped to a record low in Los Angeles County, the number of cases in Pasadena and Long Beach edged up in 2008 compared to the previous year, health officials said Monday.

On the eve of World Tuberculosis Day, the American Lung Association released data showing a decline in TB cases statewide of 1.1 percent from 2007 to 2008, though the number of cases rose in 19 of the state's 61 local jurisdictions -- including Pasadena and Long Beach -- over that time.

In Los Angeles County, excluding Pasadena and Long Beach, the TB rate slowed from 815 to 792 cases over the past year.

Orange County saw a similar slight decrease, with the number of cases dropping from 217 to 209.

Statewide, the TB case rate is about 60 percent higher than the rest of the country, killing about 250 Californians each year and infecting thousands more, according to the ALA in California.
In the current fiscal year, $953,000 -- 10 percent -- of the State TB Control budget was slashed through across-the-board cuts that affected all state programs, according to the ALA.

As funding dries up, new multi-drug resistant forms of TB have cropped up, which cost more to treat, ALA warns. About 80 cases of the tougher form of the disease are treated each year in California.

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