Current and future trends in tuberculosis incidence in New York City: a dynamic modelling analysis

Fojo AT, Stennis NL, Azman AS, Kendall EA, Shrestha S, Ahuja SD, Dowdy DW


After steady decline since the 1990s, tuberculosis (TB) incidence in New York City (NYC) and the United States (US) has flattened. The reasons for this trend and the implications for the future trajectory of TB in the US remain unclear.


We developed a compartmental model of TB in NYC, parameterized with detailed epidemiological data. We ran the model under five alternative scenarios representing different explanations for recent declines in TB incidence. We evaluated each scenario's relative likelihood by comparing its output to available data. We used the most likely scenarios to explore drivers of TB incidence and predict future trajectories of the TB epidemic in NYC.


Demographic changes and declining TB transmission alone were insufficient to explain recent trends in NYC TB incidence. Only scenarios that assumed contemporary changes in TB dynamics among the foreign-born - a declining rate of reactivation or a decrease in imported subclinical TB - could accurately describe the trajectory of TB incidence since 2007. In those scenarios, the projected decline in TB incidence from 2015 to 2025 varied from minimal [2·0%/year (95% credible interval 0·4-3·5%)] to similar to 2005 to 2009 trends [4·4%/year (2·5-6·4%)]. The primary factor differentiating optimistic from pessimistic projections was the degree to which improvements in TB dynamics among the foreign-born continued into the coming decade.


Further progress against TB in NYC requires additional focus on the foreign-born population. Absent additional intervention in this group, TB incidence may not decline further.