Author Affiliations: Harvard School of Public Health (Drs Heymann and Wilson), the Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Medicine (Dr Brewer), Harvard Medical School (Dr Wilson), and Harvard University (Dr Fineberg), Boston, Mass.
Imagine a new disease. It spreads
by droplet nuclei. Humans carry it from one country to another. The
disease infects both healthy persons and those with compromised immune
systems. For every person evidently ill, 10 to 20 are infected
silently, and as many as 10% per year of those who are
immunocompromised will develop active disease and spread the infection.
The disease is curable with drugs that are available in industrialized
countries but considered too expensive for developing countries. Left
untreated, the disease is likely to affect tens of millions worldwide
and kill at least half of those who develop active disease. It seems
clear that the global health community would make an urgent commitment
to fight such a disease, if there were an opportunity to stop it early
in its spread.
Heymann SJ, Brewer TF, Wilson ME, Fineberg HV. The Need for Global Action Against Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis. JAMA. 1999;281(22):2138-2140. doi:10.1001/jama.281.22.2138