March 21, 2019, By Meghan Sackman
More people were diagnosed with Tuberculosis in Queens last year than in any other borough, according to a report released by the NYC Health Department on Monday.
More than one third, or 37 percent, of the cases diagnosed in New York City in 2018 were in Queens, with a high concentration in Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst.
In these three neighborhoods, there were 14.4 cases of TB for every 100,000 people, more than twice the rate experienced across the entire city, at 6.8 cases, according to the department.
The report noted that TB disproportionately affects people born outside the United States as well as those who live in poorer neighborhoods. High rates were found among immigrants from China, Ecuador, Mexico and India.
“TB continues to disproportionately affect New Yorkers of color, poor New Yorkers, and those born outside of the U.S.” said Mark Harrington, Executive Director, Treatment Action Group. “A concerted prevention effort that uses the latest scientific developments, and engages communities, can change this.”
The report notes that the number of overall cases in New York City continues to decline. In 2018, 559 people were diagnosed with the infectious disease, down 8 percent from 613 cases in 2017.
People with TB have symptoms such as persistent coughing, chest pain, the coughing up of blood, or a fever. TB can be cured by taking antibiotics.
The department recommends that people who have recently been to a high-risk country and have had a cough lasting more than three weeks get tested.
Free and confidential TB testing and treatment is available, regardless of immigration or insurance status. There are four TB Chest Centers in New York, including a Jackson Heights location at 34-33 Junction Blvd.
Last year, the four clinics saw more than 7,800 patients.
TB education and prevention events are being planned by the Health Department in May and June.