National TB Conference

Representatives from US public health laboratorians have converged in Atlanta, GA, this week for the 2009 National TB Conference, June 15-18. The meeting, formerly known as the “National TB Controller’s Workshop,” examines topics of interest to TB controllers, nurses, physicians, researchers and laboratorians. More sessions for laboratorians have been added to this year’s program. Topics include rapid detection of TB in clinical specimens, case studies in implementing Interferon Gamma Release Assays (IGRAs), success stories in laboratory-program collaboration and molecular detection of drug resistant pathogens.

APHL’s electronic laboratory self-assessment tool, “Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Assessing Your Laboratory,” was discussed in a session on Monday presented by David Warshauer, PhD, D(ABMM), Deputy Director, Communicable Diseases, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. This tool gives public health, clinical and commercial TB laboratories a means to assess the quality of their TB practice and to institute quality improvement measures. The online assessment tool represents a significant improvement over the original tool published in 1995 as a spiral-bound notebook. Within a few weeks, laboratories will be able to employ the tool to locate the latest diagnostic technologies and apply this information to improve their operations. Look for the link here.

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