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No. 1, 2012

SURVEILLANCE, EPIDEMIOLOGY, AND OUTBREAK INVESTIGATIONS BRANCH UPDATES

First Semi-annual Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium II Meeting

On December 8–9, 2011, the first semi-annual meeting of the newly constituted Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC) took place in Atlanta at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia. This was the first opportunity for the newly selected TBESC sites and CDC staff to be introduced and to get down to work! The following sites were selected to be part of the new TBESC and were present in Atlanta:

  • California Department of Public Health
  • Denver Health and Hospitals Authority
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Hawaii Department of Health
  • Maricopa County Department of Public Health
  • Maryland Department of Public Health
  • Public Health Seattle-King County
  • University of Florida Board of Trustees
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center

The goals of the meeting were for Consortium members and CDC staff to discuss the Task Order 1 (TO 1) study protocol, the new structure of the Consortium, and the data collection instruments. The meeting kicked off with a warm welcome to all sites from Denise Garrett, MD, CDC project officer for TBESC. She also outlined the structure for the 2-day meeting, which focused more on round-table discussions than prior TBESC meetings. Dr. Garrett encouraged all meeting participants to actively engage in the discussions.

Three main areas of the study protocol were presented by Tom Navin, MD, Chief of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch. After outlining each topic, he invited feedback and advice from everyone present. In addition to the discussions surrounding the protocol, Dolly Katz, PhD, reviewed the study objectives with the group. The main objectives are to evaluate and compare the performance of tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) and interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs) in 1) diagnosing LTBI, and 2) predicting progression from LTBI to TB disease, overall and among important subgroups of patients. Dr. Katz also spoke to the Consortium about the study’s expected sample size and answered questions regarding these calculations.

An additional component of TO 1 is to compare the costs, cost differences, and cost-effectiveness of IGRAs and TST. Suzanne Beavers, MD, led this discussion and placed emphasis on how the Consortium plans to collect cost data and the importance of translating these findings to the program level.

The second day of the meeting was led by Meredith Howley, MS, and Melissa Pagaoa, MPH. They presented the data collection instruments and sought feedback on how best to develop the forms in order to answer the objectives outlined on the first day. Julio Lopez and Arnette Mayhew from CDC’s Procurements and Grants Office addressed the Consortium and answered contractual and invoicing questions.

Overall, the meeting was a great success!  The teamwork and camaraderie expressed by CDC staff and Consortium sites resulted in productive discussions that were fruitful and helped further define the study objectives and procedures. We look forward to enjoying a very productive collaboration with all TBESC members and seeing all of our new colleagues again in June 2012 for the second semi-annual meeting of TBESC II.

—Reported by Meredith Howley, MS,
and Melissa Pagaoa, MPH
Div of TB Elimination

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