American Thoracic Society Honors World TB Day


March 24, 2010, will mark World TB Day. On this day around the world, the public health and scientific community will raise public awareness about tuberculosis and the challenges that remain in controlling it globally, such controlling drug resistant TB and as the urgent need to develop new TB diagnostic, treatment and prevention tools. The American Thoracic Society (ATS), originally founded as the American Sanatorium Association, is a leader in domestic and global TB control. The ATS holds key membership’s in the lead advocacy organizations on TB, including Stop TB USA and the global Stop TB Partnership.

In 2008, the Congress passed historic laws to combat TB globally and domestically, The Lantos-Hyde Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria Act and the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act. The Lantos-Hyde Act, which reauthorized the President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), commits the U.S. to implementing the Global Plan to Stop TB. The Lantos-Hyde Act also does the following:

-- Provides a plan for effective coordination of TB and HIV programs.

-- Authorizes $4 billion over five years for USAID and CDC global TB programs.

In recognition of the need to strengthen domestic TB control, Congress passed the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act. The law is based on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine for the elimination of TB in the U.S. The law does the following:

-- Expands efforts to prevent outbreaks of drug resistant TB

-- Targets support to federal, state, and local health authorities to detect, treat, and prevent in the foreign-born population, in U.S., minorities, and along the U.S.-Mexico border.

-- Provides an urgently needed reinvestment into new TB diagnostic, treatment and prevention tools through the CDC and NIH.

ATS president J. Randall Curtis, MD, said, “Tuberculosis is the second leading infectious disease killer in the world, yet we are still fighting this disease with one hand tied behind our back because the tools that we have to identify, treat and prevent the disease are outdated and global and domestic TB programs are under-funded. Less than two years ago, two historic laws on TB were enacted. The ATS urges Congress and the administration to put the U.S. back on the path to TB elimination and reduce the global TB burden by fully funding these measures.”

The Lily MDR-TB Partnership provides the following TB statistics:

-- There were 9.4 million new TB cases in 2008, including 1.4 million cases among people living with HIV(1)

-- 1.8 million people died from TB in 2008, including 500,000 people with HIV - equal to 4,500 deaths a day(1)

-- TB is a leading killer of people with HIV(1)

-- Today's TB drugs are more than 40 years old and must be taken for at least six to nine months for drug-susceptible tuberculosis(2)

-- MDR-TB is a form of TB that is difficult and expensive to treat and fails to respond to standard first-line drugs. (1)  There were an estimated 500,000 new MDR-TB cases in 2007. Just over 1 percent of cases were receiving treatment in 2008 known to be based on WHO's recommended standards(1)

-- XDR-TB, which occurs when resistance to second-line drugs develops on top of MDR-TB, been found in 57 countries to date(1)

For more information from the Global Health Council, CLICK HERE.

(1) "2009 Update Tuberculosis Facts;"  World Health Organization, Stop TB Partnership. 18 Mar. 2010

(2) "Mission and History;" TB Alliance. 18 Mar. 2010 

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