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TB Notes 2, 2004
This spring brought two important meetings for CDC’s TB control
staff. First, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) held its 100th
annual conference in Orlando, Florida, May 21-26, 2004. This year
the American Lung Association (ALA) celebrated its 100-year anniversary
at the ALA/ATS Conference. On May 23, Dr. Dixie Snider and I, representing
CDC/OD and DTBE, formally acknowledged ALA's early support for TB
control efforts and for its superior, long-standing support and
advocacy for public health in general by presenting honorary plaques
and a letter of appreciation to the president of the ALA. May 23
was also the date of the CDC-sponsored poster session on TB. As
usual, the TB poster presentations were very popular; the DTBE information
booth was a success as well.
Second, the 2004 National TB Controllers Workshop was held in Atlanta
from Wednesday, June 9, through Friday, June 11, with a number of
preworkshop meetings held on June 8. The focus of the meeting was
the importance of collaboration between TB control programs and
their partners in the TB laboratory, as reflected in the theme of
the meeting, “Critical Partnerships for TB Elimination.” On June
9, after several speakers’ updates, Ed Thompson, MD, MPH, Deputy
Director for Public Health Services, CDC, gave the keynote speech.
The remainder of the day was devoted to presentations and discussions
about genotyping. Thursday’s sessions were concerned with the intersection
of programs and laboratories. On Friday, we heard about new technology,
with two presentations on the QuantiFERON®-TB test. Cellestis,
the manufacturer of the QuantiFERON®-TB test, has recently
submitted an application for FDA approval of the second generation
of the TB diagnostic test.
The current TB treatment guidelines became available to users of
personal digital assistants (PDAs) on May 19, 2004. This PDA application,
a new reference tool for physicians treating persons with TB, is
based on the Treatment of Tuberculosis guidelines and is now available
for download and use on PDA Palm OS devices. This interactive program
provides current, accurate, user-friendly TB treatment guidelines
for health care providers, allowing them to make informed decisions
at the point of care. DTBE introduced and made an initial
distribution of this tool in May at the ATS meeting. If you have
a Palm OS PDA, we hope you will download the application and try
it; please visit the DTBE website (www.cdc.gov/tb)
to access it.
The announcement of the 2005 TB elimination cooperative agreements
with state and local health departments was approved by HHS and
was published in the Federal Register on May 28. This
announcement begins a new project period on January 1, 2005. Staff
of the Field Services and Evaluation Branch hosted a Web conference
on June 2 with TB controllers to discuss the 2005 TB elimination
Dr. Janet Collins, who has been appointed Acting Director of the
National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP) with Dr.
Harold Jaffe’s retirement, met with staff of the Division of AIDS,
STD, and TB Laboratory Research (DASTLR) on June 3 to announce the
decisions that have been made on the reorganization of the division.
Specifically, the four DASTLR branches (Sexually Transmitted Infections
Branch; HIV Immunology and Diagnostics Branch; HIV and Retrovirology
Branch; and the Tuberculosis/Mycobacteriology Branch) will be transferred
organizationally to the Divisions of STD Prevention, HIV/AIDS Prevention:
Surveillance & Epidemiology, and TB Elimination, respectively.
We welcome this realignment, which is expected to build even stronger
linkages between the scientific, programmatic, and laboratory work
of NCHSTP. Dr. Dale Hu has agreed to served as acting Associate
Director for Laboratory Sciences in a new position that reports
to the Director, NCHSTP, and represents lab interests and coordinates
lab activities at the highest level within the Center. The reorganization
is expected to become operational on July 19, 2004.
Dr. Harold Jaffe's retirement celebration was Friday, June 4. Harold
has had a long and distinguished career with CDC, starting in 1974,
when he joined CDC as a Clinical Research Investigator with the
Venereal Disease Control Program. In 1981, he became an Epidemic
Intelligence Service Officer and was assigned to study the earliest
cases of AIDS, along with Dr. James Curran, currently Dean of the
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and then Coordinator
of the CDC Task Force on Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections. Through
the 1990s, Harold served in a series of critical, director-level
positions in CDC’s HIV/AIDS hierarchy. Since 2001, he has served
as Director of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention. Harold
is now leaving CDC, but not public health, accepting a new role
as fellow of St. Cross College and Professor of Public Health at
the University of Oxford, England. Having known Harold since I arrived
at CDC almost 21 years ago, I can attest to the importance of his
work and the loss that his departure represents.
I enjoyed seeing many of you at the recent NTCA workshop in Atlanta,
and trust that you came away with a renewed appreciation for the
important role of the laboratory in TB control, as I did. I want
to convey my thanks for all the hard work that went into the posters,
presentations, and meetings that went on. Best wishes for a safe
and happy summer, and keep up the good work!
Kenneth G. Castro, MD