Today, the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act of 2018, was introduced by Representatives Gene Green (D-TX), Don Young (R-AK), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). While recent data shows that 95 percent of cases and deaths are in developing countries, tuberculosis (TB) cases continue to occur in the United States with more than 9,000 patients diagnosed annually.
“I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which reauthorizes the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2008,” said Rep. Green, original sponsor of the bill and Ranking Member of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health. “We must continue to remain committed to providing the resources necessary to develop new tools, better diagnose TB infections and accurately identify resistant strains of drug-resistant TB.”
“In Alaska, tuberculosis is still a prominent issue which is why I’m proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation, said Rep. Young. “In 2016, we had nearly three times the national average cases of TB reported in Alaska. Eliminating TB, and the many stigmas surrounding this infectious disease, is important for the well-being of our most vulnerable communities. This bill will help to equip our public health officials with the necessary resources to effectively manage and decrease the spread of TB.”
“TB is a disease we know how to prevent, treat and cure – and yet, it remains the number one infectious killer worldwide,” said Rep. Engel. “Sadly, TB often takes the greatest toll on the most vulnerable among us, including young children. We must do more to defeat this killer once and for all, and I am proud to help lead this effort.”
“Tuberculosis should be a disease of the past but, unfortunately, over 9,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. “Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly illness that we must continue to fight by innovating improved vaccines and treatments that respond to evolving strains. I’m proud to join with my colleague, Gene, in order to help eradicate the incidences of this disease in our nation.”
The Comprehensive TB Elimination Act of 2018 would update and ensure the tools necessary for public health officials to eliminate TB in the United States by providing support to domestic programs that combat tuberculosis, which include:
- Reauthorization of the National Strategy for Combating and Eliminating Tuberculosis
- Funding for the CDC’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination in their domestic TB control efforts
- Award grants to state and local governments and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) for coordinating programs and services that prevent, diagnose, and treat TB
- Encourage interagency coordination in identifying new tools and therapeutics for TB control
- Require the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the coordination of efforts to prevent, control, and eliminate TB
A copy of the bill is available HERE.