This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Another World TB Day passed last week (March 24) without much notice. I guess to many it is old news.

Americans understand that infectious diseases do not respect borders. Witness the interest in Ebola and now the Zika virus. While they get headlines, it is tuberculosis that has infected one-third of humanity and kills 1.5 million people each year, making it the leading infectious cause of death in the world.

TB is very treatable until it becomes multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB). We are seeing more and more cases of MDR-TB, which could cost the world $16.7 trillion by 2050. We can control TB if we decide to do so. The social and economic benefits would be enormous. We have better drugs and better diagnostic tools than ever before.

We need to act now. I urge Congress to do what it takes to finally confront this threat.

Scott A. Leckman, M.D.

Salt Lake City