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Epidemiology, Tuberculosis, and the Homeless Population

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Epidemiology, Tuberculosis, and the Homeless Population
Rebecca J Buck
NUR 408
July 29, 2013
Felita Patterson

Epidemiology, Tuberculosis, and the Homeless Population Among many misconceptions, tuberculosis is not a disease of the past. Tuberculosis remains a public health issue. It is estimated that one-third of the total world population is infected by tuberculosis (TB). The American lung association (2013) states, in 2011 alone there were nearly 9,000,000 new diagnosed cases of tuberculosis around the world and an estimated 1.4 million deaths because of this disease. In the United States, TB is not as common (but still a problem). In 2011, only 10,500 people reported having TB (Trends in Tuberculosis Morbidity and Mortality). Research shows that there are many preceding factors that predispose a person and increase the risk of contracting TB. Epidemiologists have studied and determined that many of these preceding factors are evident in vulnerable populations around the world, particularly the homeless population. The science Daily (2013) reports that “one in five homeless people with tuberculosis die within a year of their diagnosis” (Death Rate from Tuberculosis in Homeless Alarmingly High). In addition to the high death rate for TB among homeless people, public health officials also recognize a growing threat of drug resistant strains within these vulnerable populations. Theses drug resistant strains of tuberculosis require longer, more consistent treatments, and are often more fatal. In this paper, an example homeless population group on Skid Row in Los Angeles, California will be discussed. Earlier this year, an outbreak of a strain of TB that was unique to Los Angeles was discovered on Skid Row. Public health officials sought out the help from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for assistance in investigating, managing, and...

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