The American Thoracic Society joins the World Health Organization in calling for increased funding to halt the global TB pandemic following the release of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2016. The report finds that for the second year in a row the number of TB deaths has surpassed the number of HIV/AIDS deaths globally, making TB the leading global infectious disease killer. The report’s data shows that TB cases, including dangerous drug-resistant strains, are increasing globally. The disease threatens to undo the tremendous progress made by PEPFAR and the Global Fund Against AIDS, TB and Malaria.

“The ATS urgently calls on the international community to fully fund TB control, and research and development programs,” said TB expert and ATS Past President Philip. Hopewell, MD. “The WHO report indicates that TB cases are on the increase globally. But current investments in TB control, research, and development programs are insufficient for halting this airborne infectious pandemic.”

Last year, President Obama released an ambitious National Action Plan to Combat Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis globally and in the U.S., yet no funding has been proposed to implement the plan.

Dr. Hopewell added, “We urge the Administration and Congress to fully implement and fund this important global health initiative through USAID, CDC and TB research through the National Institutes of Health. We can no longer afford to neglect TB, now the leading global infectious disease killer.”

“The ATS, originally founded as the American Sanatorium Association in 1905, and its more than 15,000 worldwide members pledge to continue our work to eliminate TB. In collaboration with the WHO and other  partners, we have produced international standards of care and are providing technical assistance in implementing those standards and other TB control, treatment and prevention strategies in 23 countries,” noted ATS President David Gozal, MD, MBA.