We have the right tools to do more against tuberculosis

Improved screening is important, and the treatment for latent TB has made great strides, a biotech firm director writes.

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An estimated 13 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have latent TB, and up to 10% could end up with active and highly contagious TB disease.

An estimated 13 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have latent TB, and up to 10% could end up with active and highly contagious TB disease.

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Together with others working to end tuberculosis, I commend the recent opinion piece in the Sun-Times by Dr. Sheela Shenoi. The op-ed accurately states that cases of latent TB infection and active TB disease are rising in the United States and globally, in large part due to the diversion of testing resources and public health outreach for TB that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As someone in the industry, I would also note the lack of funding and attention put on higher-risk areas, such as remote, rural and border cities in the U.S.

There are two proactive, common sense steps we can take today in lieu of the needed vaccination. First, we can screen for latent TB with fast, widely available and recommended blood tests (IGRAs), such as QuantiFERON. Second, once identified through screening, people with latent TB can be cured before the infection becomes active and potentially deadly. Both steps protect the individual, our communities and the global population.

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An estimated 13 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have latent TB, and up to 10% could end up with active and highly contagious TB disease at any point in their lives, even with healthy immune systems. Those who have or develop weakened immune systems, including cancer patents and those who have HIV or transplants, are at much higher risk of developing active TB disease and should be screened, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The treatment for latent TB has made great strides and improves clinical outcomes as demonstrated in several studies. In addition, treating TB before it becomes active has fewer long-term complications.

Together with my colleagues at the biotechnology firm QIAGEN who are working daily with public health officials and community groups to educate people about TB and support testing in at-risk communities, I support the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to increase awareness through their Think, Test, Treat Program, which is also aligned with building awareness in both the medical and public spheres.

Samantha Beres, director of public health, QIAGEN
Germantown, Maryland

Republicans are scared of everything but their dangerous leaders

Republicans seem to be very concerned with what their children are being exposed to, going as far as wanting to ban books — even the Bible. Yet they are evidently fine with their children being exposed to dangerous lunatics like Donald Trump, George Santos, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ted Cruz. Let’s include Matt Gaetz, who was investigated in a sex- trafficking case involving a 17-year-old girl, in there also.

Maybe Republicans aren’t that concerned about their children as they appear.

Thomas Bajorek, Burbank

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