In the 1960s, another U.S. Public Health Service program transferred to CDC; this one focused on preventing tuberculosis (TB). TB is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium that spreads from person to person through airborne droplets. Historically, patients with TB were sent to sanitariums for treatment, but the availability of antibiotics after WWII meant patients could receive outpatient therapy instead. When the TB program transferred to CDC, Public Health Advisors actively monitored their assigned neighborhoods for high-risk groups, such as older men, immigrants, and people experiencing homelessness. If a case was identified, the patient was treated to prevent transmission to others, and Public Health Advisors would watch their contacts to prevent TB transmission.
Seen here are projector slides from the Neighborhood Disease Control Self-Help Kits used by the neighborhood Public Health Advisors to train local communities about TB. The slides feature a series of images showing how TB is spread, diagnosed, and then treated. In the images, a red mist, representing the TB bacteria, is shown spreading through the air and being inhaled by others as people have contact with one another. Next a person is given a skin test, then a chest x-ray, and begins taking antibiotics. Today, CDC continues its work against TB by monitoring for new cases, providing funding to state and local programs, and providing laboratory diagnostics.
Take a closer look:
- View the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, under a microscope and through the lens of a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
- View an x-ray of a TB patient’s chest and an example of a TB-positive skin test.
- Take a look at laboratorian Margaret M. Floyd in protective gear as she studies tuberculosis in the lab, laboratorian Charlotte Patton labeling vials for a M. tuberculosis study, and former CDC Director, Dr. David J. Sencer, administering a TB skin test.
- Compare the basics of TB to latent TB infections and drug-resistant TB.
- View these fact sheets about TB preventionpdf icon, TB eliminationpdf icon, and tuberculosis genotypingpdf icon.
- Learn about the transmission and pathogenesisexternal icon — the biological mechanism(s) that lead to disease — of TB.
- View the World Health Organization’s latest updates and global map of TBexternal icon.
From the source:
- Learn about the childhood burden of tuberculosis, as told by Edvard Munch, in an issue Emerging Infectious Diseases.
- Meet Cindy Castenadaexternal icon, Public Health Advisor in CDC’s Division of TB Elimination.
- Meet Edwin Rodriquezexternal icon of CDC’s Division of TB Elimination.
- Hear from Seh Welchexternal icon, Senior Policy Advisor in the CDC’s Division of Global HIV and TB, and Delight Satterexternal icon, Health Scientist in CDC’s Office of Tribal Affairs and Strategic Alliances.
- Watch TB survivors tell stories of their experiences. (En Español)
Then and now:
- Learn what poet William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) and Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) have in common and view the mural commissioned in Mandela’s honor.
- Explore the history of World TB Day.
- Read 2019 MMR, “Global Epidemiology of Tuberculosis and Progress Toward Achieving Global Targets.”
Give it a try:
- Want to take your TB knowledge a step further? Explore CDC’s educational modules: “Self-Study Modules on Tuberculosis.”
- Explore a 3D model of Mycobacterium tuberculosisexternal icon and 3D print a copy through National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange.
- Complete a coloring sheet pdf icon[PDF – 402 KB] of a TB nurse in personal protective equipment (PPE).