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Prevention of tuberculosis in older adults in the United States: obstacles and opportunities

TitlePrevention of tuberculosis in older adults in the United States: obstacles and opportunities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHochberg, NS, Horsburgh, Jr., CR
JournalClin Infect DisClin Infect Dis
Date PublishedMay
ISBN Number1537-6591 (Electronic)<br/>1058-4838 (Linking)
Accession Number23362286
KeywordsAdult, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and Over, Ethnic Groups, Female, Humans, Long-Term Care, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Residence Characteristics, Risk Factors, Tuberculosis/ prevention & control, United States, Young Adult
AbstractBACKGROUND: Persons >/=65 are a growing proportion of the US population and are at increased risk for tuberculosis disease. The objective of the study was to examine rates and identify risk factors for tuberculosis among older adults in the United States. METHODS: Average rates and rate ratios for tuberculosis by age group, race/ethnicity, country of birth, calendar year, and long-term care facility residence were calculated using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tuberculosis case reports and Census Bureau data. RESULTS: Older adults accounted for 21.9% of tuberculosis cases in the United States between 1993 and 2008. Average yearly tuberculosis rates over sixteen years were 10.9 per 100 000 (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.8-11.0) in older adults compared with 7.3 per 100 000 (95% CI, 7.3-7.4) in persons aged 21-64 (rate ratio [RR], 1.5; 95% CI, 1.5-1.5). Among older adults, tuberculosis rates increased with age from 9.6 per 100 000 in persons aged 65-74 to 14.2 per 100 000 in persons aged >/=85 years. Older persons at higher risk for tuberculosis include men (RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 2.1-2.2), American Indians/Alaska Natives (RR 3.6; 95% CI, 3.4-3.9), those in long-term care facilities (RR 2.3; 95% CI, 2.2-2.3), and the foreign-born (RR 5.1; 95% CI, 5.0-5.2). CONCLUSIONS: Elimination of tuberculosis in the United States will require addressing the substantial burden of disease among older persons, especially men, non-whites, long-term care facility residents, and foreign-born persons. Use of interferon-gamma release assay testing may help prioritize persons with greatest need for treatment of latent tuberculosis infection, as new shorter and less toxic regimens make latent tuberculosis treatment in older adults more attractive.
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