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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


TB Notes Newsletter

No. 3, 2005

Dear Colleague:

The 2005 National TB Controllers Workshop was held from June 28 through 30 at the J.W. Marriott Lenox Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, with preworkshop meetings held on June 26 and 27. Invited participants included state and big city TB controllers, TB Nurse Consultants, TB Program Managers, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) field staff, and Regional Training and Medical Consultation Center leadership. The title of this year's workshop was “Can You Hear Me Now? Let’s Talk TB!” with the meeting’s activities highlighting communication, education, and training issues as they relate to TB control. The workshop committee invited participants to submit poster abstracts. These posters were a very important part of the meeting in that they allowed the presentation and sharing of the contributions of TB control staff from across the nation in high- and low-morbidity states and cities. Among the highlights of the 2005 workshop was the opportunity to hear from persons affected by TB. The stories were particularly relevant to the meeting in that both patients were spouses of CDC employees. Teresa Rugg, of the organization RESULTS, spoke of her friend Claudia Lacson, a health care worker here in Atlanta who died in July 2004 of TB meningitis. Claudia’s husband, Romel Lacson, who had been a behavioral scientist at CDC, subsequently left the agency to start the TB Photovoice project, a website devoted to providing education about TB and TB meningitis ( Janet Collins, PhD, who has been serving as acting Director, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP), gave a moving account of her husband’s ordeal with the same disease. The Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch facilitated access to M. tuberculosis nucleic acid amplification testing by the Grady Hospital microbiology laboratory, which promptly established a diagnosis of TB meningitis. He was subsequently put on the appropriate medications; very thankfully he survived and has recovered. Experiences such as these served to remind us of how dangerous TB is, and to emphasize the importance of the focus of our meeting, TB education and training.

The BOTUSA Project, a collaboration between CDC and the Botswana government, commemorated its 10th anniversary in Gaborone, Botswana, on March 1 with a 1-day conference on TB and HIV programs and research. BOTUSA was initiated in 1995 as a partnership between the Ministry of Health’s Botswana National TB Program (BNTP) and DTBE, focusing on public health research and programs to combat the dual epidemics of TB and AIDS. The project has proven to be remarkably productive, particularly in areas such as strengthening TB surveillance and establishing the Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT) program, which has since been rolled out nationally. I was invited to be one of the speakers at the anniversary conference; for your information, the text of my remarks (published in the 2004 Annual Summary, BOTUSA), has been included in this issue.

The American Society for Microbiology held its 105th General Meeting in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, June 5–9, 2005. DTBE was represented by several members of the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch, who presented several poster abstracts of their outstanding work. Their participation contributed to the advances being made in applied laboratory science toward the elimination of TB. The scientific program featured nearly 300 individual colloquia, symposia, roundtable discussions, award lectures, and poster sessions, creating a well-rounded program.

The Advisory Council for the Elimination of TB (ACET) met in Atlanta on June 8 and 9, 2005. After the welcome from Drs. Masae Kawamura, Director, TB Control Section, San Francisco Department of Public Health, and Ronald Valdiserri, Deputy Director, NCHSTP, we introduced the first topic of discussion, health disparities and TB. We heard from Dr. Garth Graham, Department of Health and Human Services, regarding the ongoing problem of health disparities among minority populations. We then heard two perspectives on TB as a health disparity: CDC’s viewpoint, given by Dr. Hazel Dean, and the State of California’s perspective, from Dr. Jennifer Flood of the California TB Control Branch. Ms. Deliana Garcia, Director, International Research and Development, Migrant Clinicians Network, discussed the role of primary care in relation to TB control. After lunch, Dr. Janet Collins and I provided the directors’ updates for NCHSTP and DTBE. Mr. Charles Schable provided follow-up thoughts on a topic discussed at previous ACET meetings, the potential synergy between TB control programs and emergency preparedness programs. Drs. Gerald Mazurek and Andrew Vernon provided an update on the process for developing guidelines for the use of the new QuantiFERON-TB Gold® test, and Dr. Dixie Snider gave a summary of research priorities as they relate to infection control precautions for TB elimination. Dr. Zach Taylor and I gave an update on the cases of TB and MDR TB being found in Hmong refugees. Dr. Tom Shinnick informed the group about new diagnostic tools being developed, and Dr. Sheldon Morris of the FDA gave us an update on the issues pertaining to the development of a new TB vaccine and federal drug regulation.

An invited consultation was held at CDC in Atlanta July 11-12, 2005, to review performance data on the most recently FDA-approved interferon gamma release assay, the QuantiFERON-TB Gold® test. Presenters included Drs. Nobuyuki Harada and Kazue Higuchi from Japan, Dr. Luca Richeldi from Italy, Dr. Paul Vinton from Australia, Dr. Esmaeil Porsa from Houston, Texas, Dr. Sandra Arend from the Netherlands, and Dr. Gerald Mazurek from CDC.  Input from these investigators, from the test manufacturer, and from 12 invited domestic TB experts is being considered as CDC develops guidelines for the use of this new test in the United States.

Kenneth G. Castro, MD


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

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