October 2007: Call your editor about TB legislation

Many people think of tuberculosis as a disease of the past, but in fact it kills some 1.6 million people per year — that’s one person every 20 seconds. In the United States, there are over 14,000 reported cases each year.

Treated properly, TB is usually curable. But inadequate diagnosis and treatment of TB around the world has resulted in the emergence of drug-resistant strains that are difficult and expensive to cure.

We saw from the Andrew Speaker case that TB is easily transmittable in this era of globalization, and that health officials become very concerned when an active case of TB is present in the public. He is not the only American to be detained for refusing to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. And a bus company in TX was ordered to pay $5.25 million when students were exposed to TB by the bus driver.

Demonizing and isolating TB patients will not protect us from the disease, though. A plan exists to eliminate the disease, and Congress must act now to pass legislation that will provide critical funding to treat and prevent TB both at home and abroad.

Members of Congress from _____ will play a key role in moving this legislation forward and local attention to this issue could make a huge difference. I would like to meet with you discuss the role the paper can play in ensuring passage of this bill. When would you have time to meet for a few minutes?