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Senator Clinton Sponsors Bi-Partisan Bills to Combat the Spread of Tuberculosis

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senator Clinton Sponsors Bi-Partisan Bills to Combat the Spread of Tuberculosis

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today joined with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) to introduce the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act of 2007 which is designed to fight the reemergence of tuberculosis (TB) in the U.S. and help combat the disease globally.

The legislation comes only days after the CDC announced that dozens of airline passengers were potentially exposed to extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) on international flights. From 1993 to 2006, there were 49 reported cases of XDR-TB in the United States, more than half of which occurred in New York State. Globally, almost 40 countries have reported cases of XDR-TB to the World Health Organization. In 2006, more than 13,000 cases of active tuberculosis were reported in the U.S.

Senator Clinton is also a sponsor of the Stop Tuberculosis (TB) Now Act of 2007, sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer which would require the President to provide assistance for tuberculosis (TB) prevention, treatment, and elimination at the international level.

"We cannot underestimate the seriousness of a disease like drug-resistant TB and last week's incident shows that we must pay closer attention to research into and treatment of this terrible disease. While there is no question that we need to address last week's incident through better monitoring at our borders and increased communication between agencies, we must also ensure that we are doing everything we can to combat TB on a research and treatment basis. Our nation's public health system and own health depends on it," Senator Clinton said.

The bipartisan legislation introduced today would improve the ability of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to international outbreaks of extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB). The legislation reauthorizes the CDC's TB program and increases its authorized funding level to $300 million for Fiscal Year 2008 for current CDC domestic activities related to TB. The legislation would expand CDC efforts to prevent, detect, and treat TB, with an emphasis on groups with disproportionately high infection rates including African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans. The bill also clarifies the role of relevant branches of the Department of Health and Human Services, aimed at improving interagency collaboration for the elimination of TB, and reauthorizes the NIH's TB programs with a focus on improving NIH's capacity to research TB and develop the skills of researchers focused on TB.

In addition the bill includes an extra $100 million in new funds for new tools to combat drug resistant TB including drugs, diagnostics, vaccines and public health interventions. The bill would expand TB research at CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) into:

• New diagnostic and treatment tools
• Testing the safety and efficacy of new drugs
• Vaccines
• At-risk populations
• The relationship between TB and HIV/AIDS
• Effective public health interventions

The Stop Tuberculosis (TB) Now Act of 2007, of which Senator Clinton is also a co-sponsor, amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to give priority to activities described in the Stop TB Strategy. The bill also authorizes the President, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to provide increased resources to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Stop Tuberculosis Partnership to improve the capacity of countries with high TB rates and other affected countries to implement the Stop TB Strategy and specific strategies related to addressing drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB). The bill also authorizes appropriations for activities at the CDC which would lead to new diagnostic and treatment tools.

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