2006_3_health_cough.jpgWhile the City frets about meningitis and Avian Flu, few give much thought to a much more common and just as devastating an illness. The disease thought to have killed Chopin and other notables has come to be regarded as the scourge of the poor, the imprisoned, and the immigrated. However, despite NYC's tuberculosis rate being twice the national average (which is at a historic low), city TB rates fell to under 1000 for the first time last year to little fanfare. The bacterium
that causes tuberculosis is a very pesky bug that initially infects the lungs but can spread throughout the body and is notoriously difficult to get rid of (the typical antibiotic regimen is taken for 9 months). The DOH released a press statement yesterday highlighting these new findings - reporting that thanks to Directly Observed Therapy (where a City health monitor literally watches a TB patient take their meds) and the decrease in untreated AIDS cases, TB infection rates have decreased 5% since 2004. This news is reassuring and shows that we may at least break-even with the new diseases that keep us awake at night.