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TB has high hospital-mortality in U.S.

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NORTHBROOK, Ill., Oct 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- High in-hospital mortality continues to plague tuberculosis patients in the United States despite the availability of medications, says a report.

The cost burden also is high. TB patients admitted to hospitals incur in excess of $385 million in hospital charges every year, says the report appearing in the October issue of CHEST, a journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, published from Northbrook, Ill.

The study said the in-hospital mortality rate for TB patients was 4.9 percent, or double the 2.4 percent in-hospital rate of all other hospital admissions.

Researchers used data from the 2000 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which represents 20 percent of the country's hospitalizations, and examined outcomes of 2,279 people admitted to the hospital with a primary diagnosis of the disease.

They found that of those hospitalized with TB, 64 percent were men, 72 percent minorities, 50 percent lived in areas of median incomes less than $35,000, and 66 percent had publicly funded health insurance or no health insurance.

The study said expanding public health programs to educate about prevention and early identification of TB would reduce the burden on the U.S. health system.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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