TB Notes Newsletter
No. 1, 2013
2013 World TB Day Events in Atlanta
World TB Day is commemorated across the globe with diverse activities and events. It presents an opportunity for CDC, our partners in state and local TB control programs, and others to raise awareness about TB by educating the public about the disease, sharing TB control successes, and highlighting ongoing barriers to TB control efforts. To educate and raise awareness about TB, CDC’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) and others plan events each year for World TB Day, March 24.
For the second year, CDC joined the global Stop TB Partnership in adopting the slogan “Stop TB in My Lifetime,” which goes with the theme of calling for a world free of TB.
On March 22, CDC held its annual World TB Day observance. Dr. Kenneth Castro, Director, DTBE, provided introductory remarks and served as master of ceremonies for the event. Dr. Terrence Lo, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, DTBE, presented 2012 provisional TB surveillance data for the United States. Please see Trends in Tuberculosis -- United States, 2012 (CDC. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2013 March 22; 62:201-205) for these provisional data.Dr. Wanda Walton, Chief, Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch, DTBE, discussed the launch of the TB Personal Stories project; please see the article below for a description of that project.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Susan Ray, Professor at Emory University School of Medicine. She is also a medical consultant for the Georgia Department of Public Health TB Program and a hospital epidemiologist at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Her outstanding presentation, titled “It takes a village…stories from the front lines and behind the scenes,” was well received. In her remarks, she told the amazing stories of several public health workers in Georgia who went the extra mile to ensure their patients finished their TB treatment; this often involved patients with difficult circumstances (or personalities) that made completion of treatment challenging and complicated.
The event, which was held at CDC’s Global Communication Center, was available for CDC staff to attend in person or view online. It was also webcast and viewed by 47 partner sites outside of CDC.
—Reported by Ije Agulefo, MPH
Div of TB Elimination
World TB Day (WTD) won’t be a celebration until the disease is eliminated. However, March 24 is a day to draw attention to the challenges that must be overcome in order to stop this disease. It is also a time to commemorate achievements, as well as an occasion to thank the people who work daily to combat tuberculosis (TB).
As a small token of appreciation for their DTBE colleagues, Joan Mangan and Cheryl Tryon in DTBE’s Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch baked TB-themed cookies.
Joan’s laboratory background came through in the cookies’ designs! She and Cheryl decorated the cookies to resemble two laboratory tests used to diagnose TB. Round cookies were designed to look like a sputum smear showing acid-fast bacilli under the microscope, with Ziehl-Neelsen stain. Covered with white icing, red jimmies were sprinkled on to resemble the TB bacilli. Blue food coloring was then used to hand paint squamous epithelial cells and some stain artifact. Other cookies were cut into the shape of test tubes and decorated to look like M. tuberculosis culturesgrowing on Lowenstein-Jensen agar slants. White and green icing was used to depict the glass and agar, and topped with candy “pearls” to create TB colonies.
The cookies were then packaged in little bags, and tied up with ribbon and a note of thanks that incorporated this year’s WTD theme, “Stop TB in My Lifetime!” The cookies drew quite a few laughs. While some recipients enjoyed their cookie with their morning coffee, others saved their cookie to show family members.
Unfortunately some colleagues were not in the office when the cookies were passed out, so Joan and Cheryl promise to put their baking skills to work again soon!
—Submitted by CEBSB
Div of TB Elimination
To educate and raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB) and put a face on the disease, the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) of DTBE embarked on a project to highlight TB in our country through the stories of TB patients. CEBSB wanted to let people know that TB is still a problem in this country, that it can happen to anyone, and that public health TB control programs provide the essential services needed to prevent, detect, and treat this frightening disease.
The project features patients who have been successfully treated and cured of TB disease, or were given treatment to prevent latent TB infection (LTBI) from progressing to TB disease. It also includes stories about children who were cured of TB, as told by their parents. Potential participants had to be willing to be featured on CDC websites, other public health partner websites, and on social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Results to date include the following:
- Eight TB personal stories were posted to the TB website.
- The TB story of one patient, Kenni, was posted as a CDC.gov feature the week of March 18.
- On March 22, a pilot video montage debuted at CDC’s World TB Day observance.
|Nicole (L) and Ann (R) with Deo, one of the video participants.|
Stories from Texas to South Carolina to Georgia were gathered, written, and posted on the TB website; stories of working mothers, children, health care workers, and others who faced a TB diagnosis and were cured, or found they had LTBI and completed treatment. In addition, three young men in the Atlanta area, Tri, Santos, and Deo, agreed to tell their stories both in print and in video formats. The staff at their county health clinics graciously allowed the broadcast crew and CEBSB staff to take over their conference rooms for a few hours with lights, cameras, make-up, and microphones for the videotaping. A video montage was then produced, with expert commentary provided by Kenneth Castro, MD, Director, DTBE.
Many thanks go out to the TB controllers across the country who made these videos possible by connecting us with the people in their communities -- people who were helped and who regained their health through the work of the TB programs.
The CEBSB team also thanks CDC’s broadcast staff. This included Larry Thomas, Broadcast Services Branch, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, who worked closely with CEBSB to set up the videotape sessions. The crew responsible for videotaping and editing consisted of Todd Jordan, Videographer; Susy Mercado, Television Production Specialist; and Cassandra Butler, Telecommunications Specialist.
Finally, Ann and Nicole thank all the participants for being willing to come forward and talk about their experiences. Because of their generosity, others can learn about TB and LTBI, and about the role of public health TB control programs in helping successfully diagnose and treat persons with TB infection and TB disease.
—By Ann Lanner and Nicole Richardson-Smith, MA
Div of TB Elimination
On Saturday morning, March 23, 2013, members of CDC’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE), with a few friends, colleagues, and family members, gathered in Atlanta’s Grant Park for the 7th annual TB Awareness Walk. Before the scheduled TB walk event, at least 400 people had registered online.
However, by 9 a.m. on the morning of the walk, a small fraction of that number showed up for the actual walk. Rain – heavy rain – was the culprit.
The TB Awareness Walk has been held every year since 2007 — in connection with World TB Day — to educate the public and raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB). And every year the weather has cooperated, often chilly but mostly sunny, with evidence of spring in the air. This year, our luck ran out.
The National TB Controllers Association (NTCA) is the primary sponsor and organizer for the Atlanta event. The group had the task of planning and organizing the event, which is a 4- to 5-month long process and involves the work of a large cadre of hard-working volunteers. A number of other local government organizations and businesses have supported the TB Walk as well over the years.
Dr. Kenneth Castro, Director, DTBE, remarked later, “I am in awe of all of you who showed up to the 2013 TB Awareness Walk in Grant Park, in spite of thundering and rain! … I am grateful to Eva Forest of NTCA for her key role in the organization of this year's event and to all other stalwart volunteers and potential walkers who showed up ready to walk in the rain to continue to raise awareness on behalf of those suffering of this disease. Your dedication is exemplary and characteristic of the tenacity embodied by those working to prevent and control TB around the country — very much needed and appreciated skills!”
The group waited for the weather to abate, which it did not. Then they cheerfully went off and shared a good breakfast. Some of the refreshment items that had been provided for the walk were delivered to homeless shelters.
—Reported by Ann Lanner and Elvin Magee, MPH, MS
Div of TB Elimination