The American Thoracic Society (ATS) is marking World TB Day, March 24, by calling on Congress and the administration to fully fund two US initiatives to combat TB globally and domestically. Congress passed the Lantos-Hyde US Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria Act and the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act in 2008.

“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with one hand tied behind our back because the tools that we have to identify, treat and prevent the disease are outdated and global and domestic TB programs are under-funded,” said J. Randall Curtis, MD, president of ATS. “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 Lantos-Hyde Act provides a plan for effective coordination of TB and HIV programs and authorizes $4 billion over 5 years for the US Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) global TB programs.

The Comprehensive TB Elimination Act aims to strengthen domestic TB control and relies on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. The law expands US efforts to prevent outbreaks of drug resistant TB. It also targets support to federal, state, and local health authorities to detect, treat, and prevent TB and provides reinvestment into new TB diagnostic, treatment, and prevention tools through the CDC and National Institutes of Health.