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Texas is below average when it comes to people finishing their TB treatment

Close view of scientist hand holding blood samples for TB.
Md Saiful Islam Khan/Getty Images
Close view of scientist hand holding blood samples for TB.

Texas fell below the national average and well below the CDC target in a key measure of progress toward eliminating tuberculosis. Only 85% of patients enrolled in programs to treat their TB finished them within a year.

The national average for people who complete their treatment within a year was nearly 90%. The CDC's goal is 99%.

CDC says there are several reasons someone might drop out of treatment, including finding out their infection is resistant to the antibiotics used to treat it.

Texas Biomedical Research Institute President Dr. Larry Schlesinger shared in an episode of TPR's Petrie Dish that they’re investigating new ways to treat TB, which might offer options to those with drug-resistant infections — including host-directed immunotherapy.

"This is akin to cancer immunotherapy, where in addition to antibiotics to treat the bacteria, we're looking for ways to bolster the immune system to work in conjunction with those antibiotics to fight the bacteria,” Shlesinger said, adding that host-directed therapies have the promise of being as effective for drug-resistant bacteria as drug-susceptible bacteria.

Texas Biomedical Research Institute is a National Institutes of Health premier training center for TB researchers of the future.

Tuberculosis, once thought a disease of the past, is a growing concern in the United States. In 2023, according to CDC, tuberculosis case counts increased among all age groups and among U.S-born and non-U.S.–born people. TB cases in the United States increased from 8,320 in 2022 to 9,615 in 2023.

Copyright 2024 Texas Public Radio

Bonnie Petrie is a proud new member of the news team at WUWM. She is a reporter who - over her twenty year career - has been honored by both the Texas an New York Associated Press Broadcasters, as well as the Radio, Television and Digital News Association, for her reporting, anchoring, special series production and use of sound.