Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center

RHTAC honors World TB Day!

World TB Day 2013


Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs but can also strike other organs.  When left untreated, TB disease can be fatal.  One third of the world's population is infected with TB.  Of those who are infected, people with weak immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are at high risk for developing TB disease.  In 2011, almost 9 million people around the world became sick with TB disease.  There were 1.4 million TB-related deaths worldwide.  In the U.S., a total of 9,951 new TB disease cases (a rate of 3.2 cases per 100,000 persons) were reported in 2012.  World TB Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about TB-related problems and solutions, and to support worldwide TB prevention and control efforts.  


For the second year, the theme for World TB Day 2013 is "Stop TB in my lifetime."  The slogan and theme encourage people all over the world, from the youngest to the oldest, to make an individual call for the elimination of TB, and express the health improvements they expect to see in their lifetimes.




New in the Literature


Trends in tuberculosis -- United States, 2012. (2013). MMWR. 62(11), 201-205.  


Utilization of a latent tuberculosis infection referral system by newly resettled refugees in central Ohio.  Kowatsch-Beyer K, Norris-Turner A, Love R, Denkowski P, Wang SH. (2013). Int J Tuberc Lung Dis.  17(3): 320-325.


The immune response to tuberculosis infection in the setting of Helicobacter pylori and helminth infectionsPerry S, Chang AH, Sanchez L, Yang S, Haggerty TD, Parsonnet J. (2012). Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Sep 7: 1-12.


Implementation of an Interferon-Gamma Release Assay to screen for tuberculosis in refugees and immigrantsSimpson T, Tomaro J, Jobb C.  (2012).  J Immigr Minor Health. (Epub ahead of print)

Full Implementation of Updated TB Technical Instructions by October 2013


By law, all immigrants and refugees coming into the U.S. must be screened by panel physicians for TB as part of the pre-departure medical examination.  The guidelines followed by panel physicians for TB testing and treatment are called TB Technical Instructions (TB TIs). 


In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the TB TIs to correspond with newer tests and treatments.  The updated TB TIs require culturing sputum samples and drug susceptibility testing on TB positive cultures.  Also, before arrival in the U.S., immigrants and refugees with TB disease must be treated with medication according to U.S. standards and with medical staff observing each dose, a method known as Directly Observed Therapy (DOT).


All countries were asked to adopt the updated TB TIs as soon as possible.  The final date for implementation is October 1, 2013.  



TB Educational Activities

RHTAC is a project of the Refugee and Immigrant Health Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Center for Refugee Trauma and Resilience at Children's Hospital Boston, the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, the Cultural Orientation Resource Center at Center for Applied Linguistics, and JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. The information contained in RHTAC newsletters do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of RHTAC's partner agencies or its funders.  RHTAC is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Grant #90RB0042.    


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TB Cultural Competency Resources



Country Specific Guides on TB for Cambodia, Haiti, Myanmar, Somalia, and other countries 

Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center at University of Florida


Cultural Competency Newsletter 

New Jersey Medical School Global Tuberculosis Institute


Global TB: What U.S.-Based Providers who serve Foreign-Born Patients Need to Know (Archived Webinar)

Curry International Tuberculosis Center at University of California, San Francisco


Beyond Diversity - A Journey to Cultural Proficiency Facilitator's Guide 

Heartland National TB Center at Univ. of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler


TB Patient Education Materials in English, Spanish, and Tagalog   

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of TB Elimination