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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 1, 2010

Dear Colleague:

A contingent of staff from the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) attended the 40th Union World Conference on Lung Health, sponsored by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). The conference was held in Cancun, Mexico, December 3–7, 2009, and convened over 2000 participants from 109 countries.

During a session of the Stop TB Symposium titled “Global TB Control Progress,” we heard an inspiring report on TB statistics: globally, there have been 43 million TB cases treated, 36 million TB cases cured, and up to 8 million deaths averted because of the TB treatment program DOTS (directly observed treatment, short course). The speaker recognized that we have to “move beyond the TB box” to progress towards TB control, meaning that we must implement innovative strategies.

However, a speaker in another session reported more somber data: a model to predict the course of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB was evaluated for Central Europe, Estonia, Germany, Hong Kong, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, United States, and Western Europe,andfound that in 9/10 areas,all strains of TB, including MDR TB, are only seeing slow progress towards elimination, and no area is on course to eliminate TB, including MDR TB, by 2050. The message was, again, that TB elimination will be delayed without new approaches or technology. There were many other outstanding reports and sessions, too numerous to summarize in this letter. The next World Union conference will be held November 11-15, 2010, in Berlin, Germany.

As you are aware, the earthquake disaster in Haiti brought offers of assistance from numerous groups around the globe. CDC staffers with specific language skills and disaster relief experience were solicited regarding their availability to deploy to Haiti to assist with relief efforts. I am proud that DTBE staffers were among the volunteers for this humanitarian effort. As always, we applaud all those (at CDC and elsewhere) who step up to these difficult and dangerous assignments.

The TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC) convened January 19–22 in Atlanta for its 16th semiannual meeting. In related news, activities related to the TB Genotyping Information System (TB GIMS) have begun, starting with a webinar for state TB GIMS administrators that was broadcast on January 12, 2010, with a repeat broadcast on February 9. The purpose of the TB GIMS webinar was to provide general information and instructions on the administration and registration process for TB GIMS administrators. The official roll-out of the system was March 8, 2010. Please read the summaries about the TBESC meeting as well as about TB GIMS in this issue.

DTBE has been making preparations for World TB Day—March 24, 2010. Our theme for this year is “TB Elimination: Together We Can!” We are most pleased that Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of CDC, is the keynote speaker at our World TB Day observance. This year the March 19 issue of the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) included four TB-related items: a summary of 2009 TB surveillance data, a report on the CDC/DTBE National Tuberculosis Indicators Project (NTIP), a front-page highlight box, and an announcement about TB GIMS. To learn about the history of World TB Day, read about past activities conducted by state and local TB programs, and access resources for your own World TB Day activities, please visit DTBE’s World TB Day web page.

Another important event coming up later in the year is the National Tuberculosis Conference. This year’s conference is being held June 22–24 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta. The theme will be Innovate to Accelerate: On the Move to Eliminate TB. Please mark your calendars for this meeting! We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Kenneth G. Castro, MD


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