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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 4, 2010

Updates from the Laboratory Branch

LB Hosts Advanced Diagnostic Mycobacteriology Course

Sixteen participants attended a 4-day Advanced Mycobacteriology Laboratory Course at CDC’s Roybal Campus in August 2010. Attendees included medical technologists and other laboratorians from public health and clinical mycobacteriology laboratories. Topics covered included molecular testing, resolving drug susceptibility testing issues, validation of new tests, quality assurance, safety, and identification of nontuberculous mycobacteria. In addition to hands-on time in the training laboratory and didactic presentations, the students had the valuable opportunity to share information with their peers about issues common to TB testing such as testing algorithms, problems, and solutions with their peers. Case studies from both CDC presenters and the audience highlighted the many complications and intricacies of TB diagnostics experienced by laboratorians, and provided useful resolutions to the issues discussed.

The course was produced by the Laboratory Branch (LB), DTBE, and sponsored by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and the National Laboratory Training Network (NLTN). Dr. Beverly Metchock, Leader, Reference Laboratory Team (RLT), LB, served as chief presenter. Joining Dr. Metchock was Dr. Ken Castro, Director, DTBE, and Dr. Brandi Limbago from the Clinical and Environmental Microbiology Branch (CEMB), Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP), as well as several staff members from RLT.

Class participants represented state public health mycobacteriology laboratories in Connecticut, Alabama, Kansas, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Mississippi, Nebraska, Indiana, and New Mexico. Also represented were a clinical lab from South Dakota and a county public health lab located in Arizona.  At the conclusion of the course, attendees were asked to convey one change they planned to make in their laboratory following the workshop. All attendees submitted at least one idea to take back and implement; these changes included reviewing testing algorithms, changing the way drug susceptibilities are set up, and overhauling quality assurance protocols.

Feedback solicited by NLTN course facilitators and comments sent to MLB following the course will help inform the development of future workshops, and will assist NLTN in formulating impact measures in the months following the course. The LB, in conjunction with APHL and NLTN, plans to provide this valuable training course in the future to TB laboratorians and scientists.

—Submitted by Frances Tyrrell, MPH, MT (ASCP)
Div of TB Elimination


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