KPFA Evening News

March 10, 2001, approximately 6:15 pm

Bill Heath: TB is the number one infectious killer on earth, says the international citizen's grassroots lobby group RESULTS. RESULTS focused its attention on tuberculosis during their monthly conference call today. The national and global conference call featured Ohio Representative Sherrod Brown as speaker. Brown is leading the fight for TB control in Congress by introducing a bill that will increase spending for TB to $200 million. RESULTS says one-third of the six billion people on earth are currently infected with TB Bacteria. Joel Rubinstein of RESULTS says that most people probably think that TB was a problem thirty years ago and was largely solved in the United States. Rubinstein says it is important to remind everyone about the dangers from TB if we don't act now.

Joel Rubinstein: Right around World TB Day, Representatives Sherrod Brown, Connie Morella, and Henry Waxman will be introducing a pair of bills to target, targeted to combating tuberculosis. First, an international bill will target $200 million for combating TB in the hardest hit countries, to ensure that the supply of TB drugs flows uninterrupted. And the domestic bill will help combat tuberculosis in the United States. And we're urging our Members of Congress to communicate with Sherrod Brown's office, to indicate their support and willingness to cosponsor these bills.

Bill Heath: Rubinstein said that in U.S. metro areas with large immigrant populations, has made TB a growing concern.

Joel Rubinstein: A growing threat is the multi-drug resistant versions of the bacteria, that are much harder to wipe out. Normal TB can be cured with a daily dose of medication for a period of about six months. Whereas multi-drug resistant TB is much much harder to cure and with much lower rate of success. So it's very important that we bring TB under control in the next few years, before multi-drug resistant TB becomes so prevalent that it will be almost impossible to solve.

Bill Heath: Rubinstein says the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose all rank within the top ten U.S. cities with high TB reports. Representative Brown hopes to have discussion on in Congress for this coming week. March 24 marks World TB Day.