Award recognizes Rep. Green's efforts to fight Houston TB
Dr. Charles Wallace, director of the Infectious Disease, Intervention and Control branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) presented the award to a representative from Green’s office on March 28.
During the presentation ceremony Wallace said it was good to have knowledgeable friends working on behalf of tuberculosis (TB) elimination in Washington, and commended Green for “having the courage and perseverance to write legislation and get bills introduced and passed.”
Harris County’s 397 TB infections accounted for more than a quarter of the state total in 2007, and Houston’s rate of 12.7 infections per 100,000 people is nearly three times the national average.
“This preventable disease is hurting north and east Harris County much more than it should,” Green said. “Our goal is to wipe it out in Texas, and wipe it off the map across the world.”
Green’s multi-pronged plan to eliminate TB in the United States, the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act (H.R. 1532), would increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Program for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, expand research on diagnostic and treatment tools at the National Institutes of Health and the CDC, and authorize the “Blueprint Plan for TB Vaccine Development” at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, among other provisions.
Tuberculosis is a deadly disease caused by bacteria that usually attack the lungs. It kills more than half of its victims when left untreated. Reductions in federal funding for programs that fight TB caused a resurgence in infections in the late 1980s that has not abated. TB is the top infectious disease killer in the world, taking nearly 1.6 million lives per year. Experts predict TB will kill 30 million more in the next decade.