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Tuberculosis in US Hits Lowest Levels Ever

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The rate of tuberculosis hit an all-time low in the United States in 2012, with fewer than 10,000 new cases reported.

With World Tuberculosis Day on Sunday, the Center for Disease Control's National Tuberculosis Surveillance System reported that the rate of Tuberculosis dropped 6.1 percent from 2011. The CDC's statistics mark the 20th consecutive year of decreasing occurrence of the deadly disease.

The statistics, published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that out of the 3,413 counties in the U.S., 44.2 percent reported zero new cases of TB between 2010 and 2012.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that most often affects the lungs. It is spread by caughing and sneezing, and can be fatal.

While the frequency of the disease is at it's lowest ever in the United States, there is still work to be done. Foreign-born people have higher rates of TB than U.S.-born citizens. Additionally, racial and ethnic minorities have higher rates of contraction than whites.

The study is based on provisional TB data provided by the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and case rates are based on estimated population numbers. Final statistics will be reported by the CDC later in the year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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