Drugs to fight TB

September 18, 2009 

Thank you for highlighting the local impact of tuberculosis with your Sept. 12 story "New TB rules delay adopted kids' moving to U.S." The CDC's new regulations sound hard to bear for couples like Marily Nixon and Luca Rigotti. But they demonstrate the growing concern for a disease that claimed 1.7 million lives in 2008.

This astounding loss of life is preventable with proper drug treatment -- treatment that costs only $20 per person in developing countries. Yet insufficient funding has impeded distribution of life-saving drugs and incited the spread of drug-resistant TB strains. Of the 335 TB cases in North Carolina during 2008, 14 were drug-resistant TB; clearly the spread of drug-resistant TB due to inadequate treatment affects us here.

The Global Fund to Fight Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria uses donations from the U.S., other nations and private companies to fund grants for programs designed by developing countries to successfully fight HIV, TB and malaria. The Senate will soon consider funding levels for foreign aid. Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr should support the Global Fund and other effective programs to stop unnecessary deaths and the growth of drug-resistant TB strains.

Christina Powers


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