Tuberculosis Among Foreign-Born Persons Diagnosed ≥10 Years After Arrival in the United States, 2010-2015

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Mar 24;66(11):295-298. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6611a3.


The majority of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the United States are attributable to reactivation of latent TB infection (LTBI) (1). LTBI refers to the condition when a person is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis without signs and symptoms, or radiographic or bacteriologic evidence of TB disease. CDC and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend screening populations at increased risk for LTBI, including persons who have lived in congregate settings at high risk and persons who were born in, or are former residents of countries with TB incidence ≥20 cases per 100,000 population (2-4). In 2015, foreign-born persons constituted 66.2% of U.S. TB cases (5). During the past 30 years, screening of persons from countries with high TB rates has focused on overseas screening for immigrants and refugees, and domestic screening for persons who have newly arrived in the United States (6,7). However, since 2007, an increasing number and proportion of foreign-born patients receiving a diagnosis of TB first arrived in the United States ≥10 years before the development and diagnosis of TB disease. To better understand how this group of patients differs from persons who developed TB disease and received a diagnosis <10 years after U.S. arrival, CDC analyzed data for all reported TB cases in the United States since 1993 in the National TB Surveillance System (NTSS). After adjusting for age and other characteristics, foreign-born persons who arrived in the United States ≥10 years before diagnosis were more likely to be residents of a long-term care facility or to have immunocompromising conditions other than human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. These findings support using the existing CDC and USPSTF recommendations for TB screening of persons born in countries with high TB rates regardless of time since arrival in the United States (2,3).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult