TB Notes Newsletter
No. 2, 2014
Round-up of 2014 World TB Day Activities
CDC's Public Health Grand Rounds
On March 18, CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds session focused on multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB. This session was presented by three of CDC’s TB experts — Sarita Shah, MD, MPH, and Tom Shinnick, PhD, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, and Tom Kenyon, MD, MPH, Center for Global Health — as well as Dalene von Delft, MBChB, founder of “TB Proof” and Christian Leinhardt, MD, DTM, MSc, PhD, a colleague from the World Health Organization.
Dr. von Delft’s presentation began with a slideshow that told her personal story as a physician in South Africa who was diagnosed in 2010 with MDR TB. For 18 months, she had to take 30 pills a day; 10 of these were to counteract the side effects of the TB drugs. Although she suffered some hearing loss, she was cured one year after being granted compassionate use of bedaquiline.
Dr. Shah went on to discuss that MDR TB is particularly challenging in the low-resource settings where it is most often found. She and her fellow presenters shared that detection rates are low, and for those fortunate patients who are found and started on treatment, therapy completion rates are low as well. Fortunately, there have been important advances recently in TB drugs and diagnostics. With the introduction of the MDR/RIF Xpert technology, health staff may now detect MDR TB in a matter of hours, and under field conditions where it is needed. In addition, clinicians now have limited access to the new drug bedaquiline which is effective against MDR TB. There are also a few other drugs for TB treatment in the pipeline.
The take-away message of the Grand Rounds was that, despite good news—the availability of revolutionary tests that allow for faster diagnosis and of new drugs and regimens that offer better and safer treatment—that’s not the end of the story. Patients and providers must also be part of the solution. Patients must present when symptoms occur and complete treatment in a timely manner. Providers must diagnose and treat TB promptly and correctly, and use good infection control measures. Lastly, health systems must be strengthened, particularly in resource-limited settings, to improve access to quality diagnostics and treatment for all patients who may be at risk for MDR TB.
The presentation can be accessed at this link: http://www.cdc.gov/cdcgrandrounds/archives/2014/march2014.htm
—Reported by Ann Lanner
Div of TB Elimination
CDC’s World TB Day Twitter Chat
World TB Day is observed 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.
This year CDC selected as its World TB Day theme, “Find TB. Treat TB. Working together to eliminate TB.” CDC wanted to highlight the fact that TB is still a life-threatening problem in the United States, despite the declining number of TB cases. Anyone can get TB, and our current efforts to find and treat latent TB infection and TB disease are not sufficient. Misdiagnosis of TB still exists, and health care professionals often do not “think TB.”
On March 24, CDC hosted a Twitter chat in recognition of World TB Day. The chat was moderated by CDC’s Center for Global Health. Dr. Phil LoBue, DTBE Acting Director, and Dr. Jonathan Mermin, NCHHSTP Director, shared their knowledge and expertise. CDC was also joined by USAID Global Health. The chat served to raise awareness about the progress being made to control and eliminate TB, and participants highlighted the ongoing work of CDC and USAID to increase prevention and treatment around the world. Utilizing the hashtag #TBDayChat, the hour-long event engaged approximately 707 Twitter users, and the messages potentially reached close to 8,000,000 users.
There were 78 promotional tweets, including 61 retweets, containing #TBDayChat posted from March 17, 2014, through March 23, 2014. These promotional messages were posted by 61 participants resulting in a potential reach of 1,192,863 Twitter users. A summary of the Twitter chat is available at: https://storify.com/CDCNPIN/world-tb-day-twitter-chat-march-24-2014.
—Reported by Nicole Richardson-Smith, MA
Div of TB Elimination