The news of a University of Missouri student diagnosed with tuberculosis is alarming to students on campus.

Most Americans think TB is a disease of the past, yet it is currently the leading infectious disease killer worldwide, bigger than HIV/AIDS. We don’t hear about it often in the U.S., but it thrives in areas of the world in extreme poverty. TB sickens 10 million people each year and takes the lives of over 1.6 million annually.

As the Missourian correctly pointed out, TB is an airborne disease. In areas of poor sanitation, nutrition and medical care, airborne TB spreads easily. When poorly treated, it can even become drug-resistant. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria targets these vulnerable areas to save lives.

Fortunately, Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner is leading a bipartisan letter with democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee to House leadership asking for robust support for the Global Fund.

Vicky Hartzler should join Wagner in the fight against TB by signing the letter. I hope Sam Graves and Blaine Luetkemeyer sign on as well.

Cynthia Changyit Levin lives in Town and Country, Missouri.

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