From The National Women's Health Information Center
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that can affect any part of your body, but it usually attacks your lungs. TB is spread through the air. If someone with TB of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes, people nearby who breathe in the bacteria can get TB. If your body can't stop the bacteria from growing, you will develop TB disease. If this happens and the TB is in the lungs, it can cause these symptoms:
- A bad cough that won't go away (with blood or phlegm)
- Chest pain
- Fatigue (feeling very tired)
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
In 2005, the majority (82%) of all reported TB cases in the United States (US) occurred in racial and ethnic minorities. Among people born in the U.S., African Americans have the highest rate of TB cases, compared to other groups. African Americans accounted for almost 45% of TB cases in the U.S.-born population and 19% of all TB cases.
In 2005, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for one out of every four new cases of TB in the U.S. The TB rate in Hispanics/Latinos is about eight times higher than it is in whites. Minorities, including Hispanics/Latinos, tend to have more TB risk factors than whites. TB risk factors include lower economic status and HIV infection.
In 2005, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders had the highest TB rates of any group in the U.S. It was almost 20 times higher than the rate for Whites. The good news is that TB case rates for Asian Americans decreased 14 percent between 2003 and 2005, which was almost double the decrease seen in African Americans and Hispanic Americans/Latinas.
TB is a major problem for American Indians/Alaska Natives. In 2005, the TB rate in American Indian/Native Americans was about seven times higher than it was in whites. And while the TB case rates for African Americans and Hispanic Americans/Latinas has decreased, American Indians/Alaska Natives experienced an increase in TB cases in 2006.