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Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch Update

Expert Panel Meets to Discuss Drug Susceptibility Testing

A meeting hosted by CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) was held December 12-13, 2007, in Atlanta to address issues regarding drug susceptibility testing of M. tuberculosis clinical isolates. The expert panel consisted of representatives from several different organizations and health entities including public health, clinical, and commercial laboratories, clinicians, the American Society for Microbiology, the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), the World Health Organization (WHO), APHL, and CDC.

During the 2-day meeting, panel members discussed recommendations for updating CLSI M24-A (Susceptibility Testing of Mycobacteria, Nocardiae, and Other Aerobic Actinomycetes; Approved Standard) that included first- and second-line drug panels and testing algorithms. Further discussions focused on the potential establishment of regional centers of excellence to provide access to accurate and reliable second-line drug testing, recommendations for ensuring proficiency of public health laboratories, guidance on referral strategies to ensure rapid testing and reporting, and the issue of discordant results between laboratories. The panel compiled an inventory of critical research needs aimed at improving current laboratory practices important for the detection and control of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB. Specific and detailed recommendations from the meeting will be forthcoming.

—Reported by Angela Starks, PhD
Div of TB Elimination

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