New Commentary in the AMA Journal of Ethics Discusses Ensuring Just and Equitable Care for Individuals with Tuberculosis

PolicyLab researcher Dr. Katherine Yun and colleagues from the New York University School of Medicine and Langone Medical Center discuss in a new commentary in the AMA Journal of Ethics how undocumented immigrants face a unique set of risks from tuberculosis treatment. Tuberculosis (TB) remains an important public health priority in the United States and aggressive screening and treatment programs save lives and protect communities from new infections by identifying individuals with TB before they get sick and before they become contagious. Treatment during this stage (known as latent TB) also requires fewer and less toxic medications.

TB screening and treatment programs are particularly important for immigrants and new Americans, who are among the populations most frequently affected by TB. However, the primary latent TB treatment, isoniazid (INH), is not without risks – the most severe being liver failure.  Though extremely rare, INH-related liver failure can be fatal, and the only treatments are liver transplant and supportive care.  In their commentary and new PolicyLab blog, Dr. Yun and her colleagues describe why undocumented immigrants face a higher risk of harm due to treatment and highlight policies that could ensure equitable care for these particularly vulnerable groups.

Read the commentary here.

Read the PolicyLab blog here.