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TB Notes 3, 2004

EIS Conference a Success for DTBE

The 53rd annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference was held in Atlanta April 19-23, 2004. Every year this conference serves as a robust mix of scientific presentations by current EIS Officers and recruitment activities for the incoming class of EIS Officers. Members of the incoming class spend the week meeting with representatives of programs throughout CDC, interviewing with programs that interest them, and then being matched to a program for their 2-year assignment. This year’s class consists of 89 EIS Officers.

Every year, DTBE actively promotes the work of its current EIS Officers and recruits from the new class. This year’s conference was a big success on both counts for DTBE.

In regards to the presentations, DTBE Director Ken Castro, MD, moderated this year’s TB session, “Consumption Junction: Tuberculosis Investigations.”  The session was well attended and included five presentations on some of the TB-related epidemiologic investigations that were conducted recently in collaboration with our TB control partners in state and local health departments.

  • Victoria Gammino, PhD, DTBE’s EIS Officer in the Field Services and Evaluation Branch, discussed the investigation she led on a TB outbreak in a homeless population in Maine in 2002-2003.
  • Renee Funk, MD, an EIS Officer assigned to the state of Kansas, presented on the investigation she led in 2003 related to cross-contamination caused by micropipettor use in a mycobacteriology laboratory in Kansas.
  • Fatima Coronado, MD, an EIS Officer assigned to the state of New York, reported on an outbreak in a large homeless shelter in New York in 2003.
  • Asim Jani, MD, an EIS Officer assigned to the Commonwealth of Virginia, presented on a pseudo-outbreak of tuberculin skin test conversions in a women’s prison in Virginia in 2003.
  • John Oeltmann, MD, DTBE’s EIS Officer in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB), closed the session with his presentation on how the use of TB genotyping led to the discovery and understanding of transmission among homeless persons and illicit-drug users in Kansas in 2002-2003.

In the meeting’s recruitment activities, DTBE was successful in matching three new EIS Officers to assignments in the Division. Our new Officers arrived in August 2004 and join Drs. Alyssa Finlay, John Oeltmann, and Kathrine Tan to give the Division six EIS Officers. Our new EIS Officers are as follows (please see the Personnel Notes section for further details on their careers):

  • Rana Jawad Asghar, MD, MPH, (goes by “Jawad”) is assigned to SEOIB. He is a medical doctor with an MPH from the University of Washington, where he was also a fellow in emerging infectious diseases.
  • Kevin Cain, MD, is assigned to the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB). Kevin is a medical doctor in internal medicine.
  • N. Sarita Shah, MD, MPH, assigned to IRPB, is a medical doctor, and is receiving her MPH from Columbia University.

 DTBE also has two EIS Officers who have finished their 2-year assignments with us. We are grateful to Drs. Victoria Gammino and Abe Miranda for their hard work on behalf of our Division. Both Abe and Victoria have made tremendous contributions to national and international TB control during their 2 years as EIS Officers.

During EIS, Abe provided in-country technical assistance to the Viet Nam National TB Program and the Honduras National TB Program for operational research on TB, and served as the principal investigator for (1) an evaluation of the Brazilian national TB surveillance system, (2) a case-control study of risk factors for treatment default among TB patients in South Africa, and (3) an evaluation of the impact of antiretroviral treatment on the incidence of TB in Brazil, 1995-2001. In July, Abe will join the Care and Treatment Branch in CDC’s Global AIDS Program. In this position, he will be developing comprehensive care and treatment protocols and addressing epidemiological and operations research questions specifically related to TB in the countries of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief.

Victoria’s projects during EIS included collaborating on a contact investigation of TB in a traveling circus; evaluating TB surveillance among foreign-born persons in New York City; and serving as the principal investigator for (1) a contact investigation of MDR TB in a high school, (2) a community survey for active TB and LTBI on a remote atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and (3) an outbreak among homeless persons in Portland, Maine. Victoria is currently working with IRPB and the World Health Organization to collect evidence on which to base a global policy for MDR TB control, including treatment and management, and is developing an information management system to allow data to be compared across different sites implementing MDR TB control programs. Victoria will continue working on this project within IRPB for the next 6 months to 1 year. 

—Contributed by Kayla Laserson (IRPB) and
Scott McCombs (SEOIB)

Div of TB Elimination


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