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Congressman Engel Calls TB Outbreak in Alabama "Deeply Troubling"

Congressman Engel Calls TB Outbreak in Alabama “Deeply Troubling”

Authored the Stop TB Now Act to improve TB treatment options worldwide

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot L. Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, released the following statement regarding the tuberculosis outbreak in Alabama:

“The tuberculosis outbreak affecting Perry County, Alabama is deeply troubling. TB is a disease we have the tools to diagnose, treat and cure. Yet the TB incidence rate in Perry County rivals that in some developing countries. Sadly, as is so often the case when TB strikes, a medically underserved, poverty-stricken community is at the epicenter of this outbreak.

“Last month, the White House unveiled a National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis. As a long-time advocate for increased focus on TB, I was pleased to see the Administration taking action to address this deadly disease, which, in 2015, the World Health Organization deemed the world’s number-one infectious killer.

“But if Congress does not allocate adequate funding, the goals outlined in this plan can never be reached. I will work with my colleagues to ensure the objectives detailed in the National Action Plan are met with the resources necessary to make them a reality. I will also make every effort to see that the outbreak in Alabama is swiftly addressed, and that the very real threat of TB is taken seriously.”

Congressman Engel authored the Stop TB Now Act of 2007, which provided critically-needed resources to improve the availability of TB treatments and enhance countries’ ability to address TB among their populations. Significant portions of the bill were signed into law the following year as part of the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act. Congressman Engel is also a co-chair of the House TB Elimination Caucus.