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TB Notes Newsletter

No. 4, 2005

Dear Colleague:

We continue to make progress in reducing the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in this country, but concerns we have noted in recent years remain. For 2004, CDC received reports of 14,517 confirmed TB cases and a rate of 4.9/100,000, making these the lowest number and rate since the initiation of national reporting. As these trends continue, we remain concerned that the observed decreases for 2003 and 2004 are the smallest since 1993. In addition, foreign-born patients now represent 54% of the TB burden in the United States, and racial and ethnic minority groups continue to have TB rates that greatly exceed the rates of the nation overall. Please see DTBE’s latest surveillance report, Reported Tuberculosis in the United States, 2004, for the latest TB updates and trends.

We have recently experienced new challenges for the control of TB and other diseases as a result of the flooding and damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many persons were displaced from their homes, requiring novel efforts to ensure continuity of care and to prevent relapses. These disasters and our response to them have disrupted the normal flow of CDC and DTBE activities by causing many CDC and other staff to be deployed to the Gulf region. It has been heartening to observe the close network of TB programs come together with CDC to help state and local health departments identify and find persons with infectious diseases, including TB disease. These prompt efforts have ensured treatment continuation and have prevented disease transmission. DTBE staff members worked with the National TB Controllers Association to develop guidance documents for hurricane workers and evacuees, including one on identifying persons in evacuation centers who may have TB, and another on recommendations for tuberculin skin testing at evacuation centers. Those documents have been posted on DTBE’s Internet website, which is Staff members have posted a document detailing TB educational resources, and CDC’s Emergency Preparedness and Response website,, also links to the documents. In addition, we have agreed with all TB Controllers to keep a record of TB patients who have been affected by the hurricanes and to report to DTBE their knowledge of any hurricane-related TB patients.

In addition to those patient populations whom we serve, many of our employees and colleagues have been affected—either directly or indirectly—by these disasters. We extend our thoughts and prayers to colleagues who suffered losses and damage to their homes. And we salute them for their selfless efforts to remain focused on trying to find displaced TB patients in the aftermath of the evacuations.

This year marks the fifth year of the TB Education and Training Network (TB ETN); the background and accomplishments of TB ETN are reviewed in an article in this issue. Also, the members of TB ETN held their fifth annual conference in Atlanta this past August. The 2005 conference, entitled Stepping Up Education and Training to Eliminate TB, was held August 17–19 at the Westin Buckhead Atlanta and attracted over 100 participants this year. Attendees benefited from a variety of session topics. The participants’ favorable comments reflected on the success and hard work of TB ETN members in planning and carrying out this conference.

The 36th IUATLD World Conference on Lung Health was held in Paris October 18–22, 2005. DTBE will request conference participants to submit updates for publication in the next newsletter. In addition, staff members of DTBE have partnered with other experts to conduct the Program Managers Course here in Atlanta October 24–28, 2005. We will provide information on the proceedings of this course in a later issue.

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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