U.S. AND MEXICO: Team Up to Fight Tuberculosis
The United States and Mexico announced plans last week to team up in the fight against tuberculosis, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The binational effort includes a $16 million grant over six years to Mexico from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The monies will be used to expand treatment and testing efforts in 13 Mexican states, including six border states. Mexico also is planning to better monitor its patients, particularly for new infections, ensure continuation of treatment and improve training of laboratory personnel to diagnose TB. Although the lung disease is "quite curable," TB becomes resistant to drugs when the six-month treatment is interrupted -- a common occurrence for those crossing international borders. "It's not expensive to treat TB unless you fail in doing it right the first time," Dr. W. Reynolds Archer, the Texas commissioner of health, said. One-third of the world's population is infected with the TB bacterium, but only 10% will become sick and contagious, resulting in 8 million new cases each year. Global Health Council President Dr. Nils Daulaire warned, "What's looming is a global health problem. We need collaboration between countries, and we have to act quickly before the drug resistance spreads" (Duerksen, 3/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.