Monday, April 03, 2006


TB has been in the news lately and it shouldn't be. Why is it, with our modern medical technology, that there aren't fewer instances of it? According to the American Lung Association, TB is an "infectious disease that usually affects the lungs and it is spread through the air. It is also usually spread between family members, close friends, and people who work or live together. It is easily spread in closed spaces over a long period of time." I know someone who has been exposed to people who have active TB, so I decided to do some research on it. Just recently, I got a letter from Sen. Barbara Boxer on this subject and I'm asking all of you to support her efforts on this. Here's her letter:

Dear Friend:

I recently introduced legislation to address the growing threat of tuberculosis. The STOP-TB Now Act of 2006 would authorize additional resources to fight tuberculosis, a deadly infectious disease that knows no borders.

Tuberculosis is a terrible and devastating disease, especially in the developing world. Tuberculosis kills nearly 2 million people each year--one person every 15 seconds. One-third of the world is infected with the germ that causes it and an estimated 8.8 million individuals will develop active tuberculosis each year. It is a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age and of people who are HIV-positive.

While developing nations are most heavily impacted by TB, there is also a concern here at home. It is estimated that 10 to15 million people in the United States are infected with the germ that causes tuberculosis. California has more cases than any other state in the nation. Ten of the top twenty U.S. metropolitan areas for tuberculosis case rates are in California: San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Fresno, Los Angeles, Stockton, Sacramento, Ventura, Vallejo, and Oakland.

My bill authorizes not less than $225 million for fiscal year 2007 and not less than $260 million for fiscal year 2008 for foreign assistance programs that combat international TB. It also creates a separate authorization of $30 million for the Centers for Disease Control to combat international TB. This funding is a wise investment for our nation. A recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a $35 million investment in the health system of Mexico to fight tuberculosis would yield a savings to the U.S. taxpayer of $108 million in terms of reduced tuberculosis healthcare costs domestically.

This legislation will not only save lives, it will help reverse a troubling trend--the emergence of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis caused by inconsistent and incomplete treatment. In the United States, a standard case of tuberculosis takes six months to cure at the cost of $2,000 per patient while a case of multi drug-resistant tuberculosis can take up to two years to treat costing as much as $1 million per patient.

TB kills more people than any other curable disease in the world. It is time to stop its spread internationally and in our own country.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

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