Tuberculosis: International Efforts and Issues for Congress Page: 4 of 21
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Tuberculosis: International Efforts and
Issues for Congress
The Global Threat of Infectious Diseases
In January 2000, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) released a report,
asserting that, "[n]ew and reemerging infectious diseases will pose a rising threat to
U.S. and global security over the next 20 years. These diseases will endanger U.S.
citizens at home and abroad, threaten U.S. armed forces deployed overseas, and
exacerbate social and political instability in key countries and regions in which the
United States has significant interests."1 NIC cited a number of factors which
heighten the infectious diseases threat, including increasing drug resistance, slow
development of new antibiotics, urban sprawl, environmental degradation, and the
growing ease and frequency of cross-border movements.
Over the past decade, there has been considerable debate about countries'
abilities to contain and prevent infectious disease outbreaks. In 2002, the
international community struggled to identify an unknown infectious disease that
rapidly spread across 31 countries and ultimately killed 813 of the more than 8,400
people who contracted it. In 2003, when the disease was ultimately contained,
scientists called the agent severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).2 That same
year, Influenza A/H5N1 (bird flu) reemerged and spread to more than 50 countries.
As of November 7, 2007, more than 330 people have contracted H5N1.3 About 61%
of those who contracted the disease have died.
TB is one of the most widespread infectious diseases in the world. The World
Health Organization (WHO) estimates that someone becomes infected with TB every
second and that about one-third of all people in the world are currently infected with
1 National Intelligence Council, The Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications
for the United States, January 2000,
2 For more information on SARS, see CRS Report RL32072, Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS): The International Response.
3 For most recent data on human H5N1 cases and deaths, see WHO website on avian flu at
[http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/]. Also see, CRS Report RL33219, U.S.
and International Responses to the Global Spread of Avian Flu: Issues for Congress and
CRS Report RL33871, Foreign Countries' Response to the Avian Influenza (H5N]) Virus:
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Tuberculosis: International Efforts and Issues for Congress, report, October 26, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc816412/m1/4/: accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.