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TB test

A nurse administers a test for tuberculosis to a Barnes-Jewish Hospital employee in this March 23, 2010, file photo. Photo by Stephanie Cordle, scordle@post-dispatch.com

The news (Feb. 19) of a University of Missouri student diagnosed with tuberculosis is likely worrisome to readers. It should also be disturbing to us that even though many think we’ve beaten this disease, it is now the leading infectious disease killer worldwide, bigger than HIV/AIDS. Tuberculosis sickens 10 million people each year, taking the lives of more than 1.6 million annually.

In areas of the world in extreme poverty, airborne tuberculosis spreads easily and — when poorly treated — can become drug resistant. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria helps to target these vulnerable areas and get medications where they are needed most.

Fortunately, Republican Rep. Ann Wagner is leading a bipartisan letter-writing effort with Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee to the House leadership asking for robust funding for the Global Fund. I hope Reps. William Lacy Clay, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Mike Bost and Rodney Davis join her in the fight against tuberculosis.

Cynthia Changyit Levin  •  Town and Country