New York City sees spike in tuberculosis cases, possibly caused by COVID fatigue and migrant crisis: Report

New York City is reportedly experiencing a sudden surge in cases of tuberculosis, an illness that ran rampant throughout the early twentieth century. There is now concern that it could be making a resurgence in the U.S.

The Daily Mail reported that there is some data which suggests 500 new cases of tuberculosis have officially been diagnosed in the city so far in 2023. This represents a 20% increase in the illness from the same time last year.

The prevalence of TB is the highest it has been in the city in more than ten years, with some speculating that this could mean the illness spills over into other parts of the country. A number of health officials have suggested that one major reason for the rise in the illness is COVID-19 fatigue, with more people avoiding clinics and treatments.

However, there is also the possibility that the migrant crisis in the Big Apple has something to do with the sudden rise of TB. More than 100,000 migrants have flooded into the city since the spring, with many of them not having the appropriate vaccinations that would otherwise mitigate the likelihood of contracting the illness.

“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,” Elizabeth Lovinger, a health policy director at Treatment Action Group, said. Treatment Action Group is a public health advocacy group that specifically focuses on TB.

The situation in New York City is especially concerning, according to TB experts, given that there has been a dramatic disinvestment in efforts to try and control the illness since the illness last spiked in the early 1990s, per Politico.

Due to budget cuts from the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control, it is possible that New York City witnesses another spike in cases. Politico noted that the illness has been generally uncommon in the U.S. since cases spiked during the AIDS epidemic. TB is reportedly still a leading killer throughout the world, especially in underdeveloped countries.

The disease is caused by bacteria, which can spread through the air and become deadly if it is not properly treated.

While migrants could be at risk of developing the illness, they are also possible carriers of the illness. However, the city has not yet announced any effort to mitigate the rise of cases.

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