To better track tuberculosis outbreaks in the United States, a non-profit biotechnology firm has launched a web-based tool that illustrates how the TB epidemic continues to impact the U.S.

The TB Crisis Tracker from Aeras, a Rockville, Md.-based firm focused on advancing the development of tuberculosis vaccines, highlights a sampling of recent U.S. TB cases occurring in schools, hospitals and other settings that have generated media attention over the past year. The firm's goal is to use this tool to raise awareness about the ongoing impact of TB and bring more transparency and attention to reports of TB outbreaks in the U.S.

While the number of new TB cases occurring in the U.S. is at an all-time low, with an increasing proportion of domestic cases occurring among foreign-born residents, Aeras says the domestic burden of disease is becoming increasingly linked with the global TB epidemic.

"Until TB is eliminated globally, it will remain a public health threat in the U.S., particularly among at-risk groups, including international travelers, healthcare workers, first responders and those who work with prisoners and the homeless," the company said in a written statement announcing the tool's launch.

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