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Letter: Tuberculosis still threat, not just disease of past

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From: Gene Arnholt


Received: March 17

Sunday is World TB Day. It was on that date in 1882, when tuberculosis was killing one in seven people, that Dr. Robert Koch made the stunning announcement that he had discovered the disease’s cause.

Today people often think of tuberculosis as a disease of the past, but it remains a very serious threat.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis can take more than two years and great expense to treat, and now there are even untreatable strains


The World Health Organization estimates that by 2015 there will be another 2 million people with drug-resistant tuberculosis. Today only

10 percent of such cases receive treatment.

We could avoid much unnecessary suffering and expense by increasing our investments in detecting and treating tuberculosis now.

For example, we should be increasing our contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the excellent organization that provides 90 percent of international financing for tuberculosis control.

As a front-page Wall Street Journal story recently reported, a Nepalese man with drug-resistant tuberculosis was fortunately stopped at the U.S. border, although he had already traveled through 13 countries.

Please encourage our senators and representatives to deal with this threat now, before it becomes an unmanageable epidemic.

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