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Letter: Controlling TB

Another World TB Day passed last week, March 24, without much notice. I guess to many people it is old news. Americans understand that infectious diseases do not respect borders. Witness the interest in Ebola and now the Zika virus. While they get headlines, it is tuberculosis that has infected one-third of humanity and kills 1.5 million people each year, making it the leading infectious cause of death in the world. TB is very treatable until it becomes multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB). We are seeing more and more cases of MDR-TB, and it could cost the world $16.7 trillion by 2050. We can control TB if we decide to do so. The social and economic benefits would be enormous. We have better drugs and better diagnostic tools than ever before. We need to act now. I urge Congress to do what it takes to finally confront this threat.

Scott A. Leckman, M.D.

Salt Lake City