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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 1, 2014

Dear Colleague:

I hope you heard the good news that our former Director, RADM Kenneth G. Castro, MD, was chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award by the North America Region (NAR) of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). He received this prestigious award at the IUATLD NAR annual meeting in February. Please see the article about the award in this issue.

We have initiated the search for a new Director of the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) to replace Dr. Castro. As you know, these high-level searches are lengthy and we do not expect to have an announcement of a new DTBE Director any time soon. In the interim, I continue to serve as acting Director, DTBE, and the other acting assignments remain in place as well: Kathryn Koski is acting Deputy Director, John Jereb is acting Associate Director for Science, and Lee Ann Ramsey is acting Associate Director for Management and Operations.

We in DTBE were very sorry to learn of the deaths of two former colleagues, Dr. Charles P. Felton and Gus Caras. Both passed away in January 2014. Please read about their lives and contributions in this issue.

We are anticipating introduction of TB elimination reauthorization language in the House. This bill will provide authority for agencies involved in TB elimination. If passed and signed by the President, this would become the next TB Elimination Act, a public law, which gives federal agencies their blueprint for activities and permission to appropriators to fund the programs.

We are cautiously optimistic about the news of a possible slight budget increase in funding for TB activities. It appears that DTBE will have some of its previous funding restored, based on the information received to date, although the anticipated level is still below that of fiscal year 2012.

The topic of TB drug shortages was the focus of two events in January: the TB Task Force update, which met by conference call on January 17; and a meeting held in Washington, DC, on January 15. This meeting was convened by the National TB Controllers Association (NTCA), PATH, and the Treatment Action Group (TAG). Dr. Ken Castro and I participated by telephone; Dr. Sundari Mase and Glen Christie of DTBE’s Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB) attended in person. This meeting was also attended by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff and other interested stakeholders. We have an article about the meeting in this issue.

World TB Day is observed annually on March 24 to commemorate Dr. Robert Koch’s announcement that he had determined the causative agent of TB: the M. tuberculosis bacterium. After discussions with DTBE staff and partners, "Find TB. Treat TB. Working together to eliminate TB" was selected as the theme for World TB Day 2014 in the United States. This theme was selected to encourage officials in local and state TB programs to reach out to their communities to raise awareness about TB. It calls for everyone involved in TB control to further collaborate to find and treat TB disease and latent TB infection, focusing on TB elimination. This theme differed slightly from the Global Stop TB Partnership theme of "TB—Reach the 3 Million. Find. Treat. Cure TB." A U.S.-specific theme was selected to better reflect the TB efforts in our country.

Many of you sent us your brief descriptions of these activities. Please go to the DTBE World TB Day website to read about your colleagues' activities, posted at World TB Day Activities.

Philip LoBue, MD, FACP, FCCP
Acting Director
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

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