AIDS and TB both contagiousIt was interesting to read your...


August 30, 1996

AIDS and TB both contagious

It was interesting to read your Aug. 17 editorial, ''Global epidemic, local threat."

The public health professionals involved in the struggle against tuberculosis in Baltimore appreciate the recognition. I would like to correct, however, one fairly important error, the assertion that ''unlike AIDS, TB is highly contagious.''

Tuberculosis and HIV differ in the mode of transmission; HIV is spread primarily by sexual activity and percutaneous exposure while tuberculosis is spread by inhaling airborne tubercle bacilli.

The difference in the public's perception of danger, and the point, I believe, offered in your editorial, is that HIV requires some deliberate action for spread to occur while TB transmission simply requires breathing.

However, tuberculosis has a low likelihood of transmission. It is generally accepted that transmission of TB requires extended proximity to a person with untreated active disease in a confined air space.

It is still true, therefore, that people at highest risk of transmission are household members of active cases.

It is important that the risk of tuberculosis not be overestimated. Alternatively, I endorse the main thrust of your editorial: Vigilance and hard work, not to mention adequate funding, are required to control and eliminate tuberculosis.

Richard W. Dunning


The writer is director of the Bureau of Disease Control for the Baltimore Health Department.

Why India keeps nuclear option

It is not just the leftist new government of India, fearing criticism from the Hindu nationalist party (The Sun's Aug. 23 editorial), that has opposed the provisions of the proposed nuclear test ban treaty.

The previous Congress Party government had also expressed reservations.

Is it too unreasonable to ask the five declared nuclear powers to agree to a timetable to dismantle their piles of nuclear weapons?

Why should the declared nuclear powers be allowed their awesome monopoly, which is an undeclared threat to the rest of the world?

Another question: Would this country have given up its nuclear option while the Soviet Union was building up its nuclear arsenals?

It is not exactly a pile of twigs that China, India's neighbor and adversary, is sitting on.

Sara Olcott


In support of Kane on interracial union

In response to rebuttals of Gregory Kane's Aug. 14 column, ''No harmony in unions of black and white,'' I submit that Mr. Kane was right on the money in his assessment of interracial unions, especially in the U.S.

This is not to say that such unions never succeed, but the odds, I believe, are against them.

There is usually rejection by the family or family members to one of the participants, and that one is very likely to be the so-called minority.

Garland L. Crosby


What Kane doesn't know about marriage

It doesn't seem to have occurred to Gregory Kane (column, Aug. 14) that love compels people to marry people of other

races, not a desire to achieve social goals.

Likewise, it doesn't seem to have occurred to him that love can render racial differences relatively insignificant.

Fortunately, it never occurred to any of us that we had to have Mr. Kane's approval of our marital choices.

#George and Betty Merrill


Bob Dole not weak

In their Aug. 12 column, Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover refer to Bob Dole's weakness in leadership regarding construction of the Republican platform (specifically the abortion issue).

Where they see weakness, however, others see strength -- strength in believing, in spite of the popular "thinking" that a human being, no matter how seemingly insignificant, deserves to live.

Dole is called weak because of his unwillingness to betray his convictions while still desiring to be kind to those who disagree with him. If so, then we should only hope for such "weakness" in anyone who would be president.

Edith Boggs

Bel Air

Why storm water taints harbor


Recent reports in The Sun about toxic pollution in the harbor and inordinate amounts of rain this year say nothing about an individual to whom the city is greatly indebted, Calvin W. Hendrick.

He is the unknown person who helped to prevent untoward events arising from the uncontrolled Jones Falls. As chief engineer for the projects that provided a sewerage system to care for sanitary waste and a second means to control and divert the flow of storm water into the Jones Falls or harbor, he made a great civic contribution.

Jones Falls was a blessing and a bane to Baltimore. Arising in Baltimore County, the falls has a rapid and occasionally tumultuous passage to the inner basin. In earlier days, it offered a ready source of water power for various mills. Shallow-draft vessels could sail up where freshwater would rid their hulls of shipworm.

At least 10 times in known history, however, tremendous rainfall caused Jones Falls to overflow, producing property damage and, at times, loss of life. In addition, the falls was an open sewer carrying sanitary waste to the harbor.

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