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TB Notes 3, 2007
Director's Letter
Highlights from State and Local Programs
  Georgia Statewide TB Training
NTCA Workshop Poster Contest
2007 EIS Conference a Success for DTBE
National Tuberculosis Indicators Project (NTIP): An Update
Evaluation Team Visits TB Isolation Village in Thailand
TB Education and Training Network Updates
  Member Highlight
  Cultural Competency Subcommittee Update
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch Update
  A Review of DTBE’s First Year Using the CDC INFO Call Center
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch Updates
  TB/HIV Surveillance in Ethiopia
TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium Updates
  2007 World TB Day: TBESC Sites Across the U.S. Get Involved
  “The First Global Symposium on Interferon-Gamma Assays” 2007
New CDC Publications
Personnel Notes
Calendar of Events
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TB Notes Newsletter

No. 3, 2007

Dear Colleague:

We note with sadness the passing of Dr. George Comstock, a distinguished TB researcher and epidemiologist whose work forms the basis of CDC’s current guidelines regarding the use of the BCG vaccine and the drug isoniazid. His obituary is excerpted here in the Personnel Notes section of this issue.

Please note that an errata document for the “Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Health-care Settings, 2005(PDF) was posted on the DTBE website on September 25, 2006. A listing of additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) was also posted for clarification of the guidelines. As additional errata or FAQs are developed, they will be posted on the DTBE website.

The 56th annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference was held in Atlanta April 16–20, 2007. The primary purpose of the EIS Conference is to give current EIS officers experience in making scientific presentations reflecting their work in applied epidemiology. The meeting also provides an opportunity for scientific exchange; helps strengthen the professional network of new, current, and former EIS officers; and provides a forum for recruitment of new EIS officers. DTBE’s current EIS officers gave well-attended presentations. I am pleased to report that Peter Cegielski, MD, MPH, of the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) was presented with the Philip S. Brachman Award at the conference. Maryam Haddad has provided an excellent overview of the meeting; please see the article in this issue.

A small number of DTBE staff attended ATS 2007, the annual international conference of the American Thoracic Society, held in San Francisco, California, May 18–23. The ATS International Conference is a prestigious scientific meeting devoted to the presentation and discussion of new research findings and the latest clinical developments in respiratory, critical care, and sleep medicine.

The conference, which attracted over 16,000 attendees, offered more than 5,500 original research abstracts related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of respiratory diseases such as TB, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, allergies, sleep-related disorders, cystic fibrosis, and many more. Of note, ATS past president and long-time CDC partner Philip C. Hopewell, MD, was presented with the 2007 World Lung Health Award during the meeting. The 2008 ATS International Conference will be held May 16–21, 2008, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The 2007 National TB Controllers Workshop, hosted by the National TB Controllers Association (NTCA), was outstanding. The meeting was held at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia Hotel in Atlanta June 12–14, with pre-workshop meetings on June 11. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Forging Ahead: Challenges in TB Control,” and featured a wide array of presentations, posters, and sessions on a range of topics relevant to current TB control challenges. At the risk of redundancy, I reiterate the words of appreciation I sent electronically after the workshop. I thank Phil Talboy, Carol Pozsik, Sherry Brown, and the many others who worked to make the 2007 NTCA Workshop a resounding success, and Phil LoBue, who did an outstanding job filling in for me. Although other commitments kept me away from early parts of the NTCA workshop, I was energized by the meeting and the collegiality of NTCA members. While the weeks prior to the meeting were at times difficult, they helped raise the visibility of our mission while demonstrating the fantastic work of TB controllers across the nation. I felt a renewed sense of pride in being counted among NTCA members, and was energized by your support during those difficult few weeks. Our work is far from complete, but the charge to eliminate TB in the United States is in excellent hands! This is our chance to seize the moment and continue to make additional progress in our marathon race towards TB elimination.

Prior to the General Session of the meeting, a special late-breaking session was held describing the recent XDR/MDR TB investigation. Dr. Ann Buff presented preliminary details on the contact investigation. Dr. Lori Armstrong presented preliminary national surveillance data on XDR TB, which had been updated through the outstanding cooperation and response of the state and local TB controllers on short notice. Subsequently, in the first General Session of the meeting, we heard welcoming remarks from Jim Cobb, President, NTCA, and Jo-Ann Arnold, President, National TB Nurse Coalition (NTNC), as well as CDC updates and reports given by Drs. Kevin Fenton and Phil LoBue. In addition, Dr. Charles Daley of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center gave a talk entitled “Challenges in Tuberculosis Control: Is it Déjà Vu All Over Again?” on the similarities between the MDR TB outbreaks in the early 1990s and the XDR TB outbreaks occurring now. The next session featured presentations related to foreign-born persons and surveillance issues. During breakout sessions, participants reconvened in smaller groups to hear and discuss updates, case studies, current best practices, and other topics of interest. These included a session on the Emergency Management Assistance Compact; during this session, participants learned how to prepare for disasters, and how states can share resources during such emergencies. During breaks, participants viewed and discussed poster presentations. Tuesday night, many participants gathered to socialize at the luau, which I truly regret missing!

On Wednesday, we first focused on the TB Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers, with separate updates on the activities and new products of these groups. These sessions were followed by presentations describing some of the important activities of nurse case managers. In General Session IV, Cutting Edge Lab Science, attendees heard presentations on how laboratory services are improving the ability of TB control programs to detect and control outbreaks and clusters of TB. Breakout sessions that afternoon continued to offer an array of presentations on research addressing TB disparities, cultural competency, and gamma interferon release assays, and updates on proposed revisions to the Report of a Verified Case of TB (RVCT) as well as on CDC’s two TB research consortia, the TB Trials Consortium and the TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium.

Thursday started off with oral presentations of data from three posters which offered solutions to challenges that many TB programs face. The last session on XDR TB provided important and relevant information for all of us in TB control. Dr. Kashef Ijaz, a presenter during this session, was introduced to the attendees as the new chief of the DTBE Field Services and Evaluation Branch. The workshop was officially adjourned at 1 pm; an NTCA press conference and several post-workshop meetings rounded out the day. Again, I convey my heartfelt gratitude and admiration to all participants as well as planners and organizers for your camaraderie and devotion, and for a job exceedingly well done!

Kenneth G. Castro, MD


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
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