Vote ‘yes’ on county TB levy

Some voters casting primary- election ballots in Mahoning County now through May 8 may be surprised by a renewal levy for tuberculosis care and treatment on the ballot. After all, many may be under the impression that the infectious disease had been wiped off the face of the planet, or at least in the industrialized world, long ago.

That impression, however, is patently false. Worldwide in 2016, more than 10 million cases of the contagious disease resulted in 1.3 million deaths. It now surpasses HIV/AIDS as the No. 1 infectious- disease killer worldwide.

It’s also been making a comeback in the United States and is present in Mahoning County. The TB issue, a five-year, 0.1-mill levy on the countywide ballot, seeks to continue to protect the public from the potential menace.

The renewal issue would raise about $200,000 per year to fund operation of the Mahoning County District Board of Health’s TB Clinic in Austintown.

That small levy, however, reaps large returns. The county clinic treats about 30 active or latent TB cases. In 2016, clinic staff made 342 home visits and screened more than 1,500 people at high risk for the disease.

Clearly, when it comes to TB, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. County residents can best protect themselves by voting “yes” to renew the TB levy.

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