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TB spending abroad saves money at home

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MONTREAL, Sep 09, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests U.S. investment in tuberculosis treatment abroad saves lives and money at home.

Most TB cases in the United States and Canada occur among people arriving from nations where the disease remains common.

Researchers at McGill University Health Center in Montreal say better TB control in such countries would result in fewer migrants developing TB and fewer TB-related deaths in the United States. The current U.S. approach depends on chest X-rays and treatment of tuberculosis when it is detected among migrants.

Researchers projected the number of TB cases, related deaths, and costs over the next 20 years that may occur as a result of the current U.S. strategy for migrants from Mexico.

They then compared those results with expected outcomes if Mexican TB control programs received U.S. funding, and determined if the U.S. government spent $35 million to strengthen Mexico's tuberculosis control, that would result in net savings of $108 million within the United States.

Scientists said there would be 2,591 fewer TB cases and 349 fewer TB-related deaths in the United States if the current approach is changed.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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