Although tuberculosis cases are at their lowest level ever recorded in the U.S., the disease is spreading at "alarming speed" in the rest of the world, a Trenton Times editorial says. A shortage of funds in the "hardest-hit countries means that fewer people are being diagnosed," the editorial says, adding that "incomplete treatments" are fueling the spread of multi-drug resistant TB.
Based on funding needs laid out in the Global Plan To Stop TB, 2006-2015, there is a $1 billion shortfall this year in the 90 countries in which 91% of TB cases occur, according to the Times
. In 2006, the Global Plan did not meet its target of testing 1.6 million HIV-positive people for TB, the editorial says, adding that with "continued underfunding," future goals are unlikely to be met.
The U.S. can help the situation by passing a bill to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which would provide $4 billion over the next five years specifically for TB prevention and treatment, according to the editorial. "The reauthorization act should be passed quickly in its current form to provide important relief for TB and HIV/AIDS," the editorial says, adding that PEPFAR should work with the Global Plan to help meet the plan's goals.
Although TB might not be as prevalent in the U.S. as it is in other parts of the world, the disease "knows no borders and is a worldwide threat that must be acted on now," the editorial concludes.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation