Annual Report Annual Report 2015 : Page 9

I N F E C T IOUS DISE A SES Laboratorian sets up conventional culture-based Drug Susceptibility Testing for Mycobacterium tuberculosis Laboratorian prepares Sensititre™ Mycobacterium tuberculosis MIC plate to test for drug susceptibility to commonly used MTB antimicrobials Richmond, California 37.9358° N, 122.3478° W In 1500 BC, tuberculosis was mentioned in the Rig Veda, a collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. Referred to as yaksma , in that ancient text, it has since been known as phthisis (Greek origin), scrofula (Latin origin), Pott’s disease (British origin) and consumption . Recent additions to the lexicon include MDR-and XDR-TB, a reflection of the microbe’s growing immunity to the modern pharmacopeia. Yet even though tuberculosis is becoming more drug resistant, in some states test volume is too low to enable public health laboratory scientists to maintain proficiency in TB drug-susceptibility testing (DST). Enter the Califor -nia Department of Public Health Laboratory in Richmond. With APHL support, the laboratory — chosen through a competitive process — has established a TB DST reference center that accepts specimens from 15 states with fewer than 50 cases/year. Also in 2015, the association conducted molecular TB diagnostic trainings at the Texas Department of State Health Services Labora -tory in Austin and the Washington Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline. Raleigh, North Carolina 35.7806° N, 78.6389° W Some researchers contend that Christopher Columbus carried the syphilis bacterium, Treponema pallidum , to Europe from the Americas. Others contend that syphilis — the so-called “social disease” — has been in both hemispheres since prehistory. In any case, the bug has caused outbreaks virtually non-stop throughout the modern era — CDC recorded about 20,000 US cases in 2014. Rapid, point-of-care tests promise to help alleviate the burden of syphilis by expanding diagnostic access, especially for hard-to-reach populations. In 2015, APHL supported an evaluation of point-of-care syphilis diagnostics at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh. The study compared the performance of point-of-care assays with the performance of laboratory assays, and also compared the performance of point-of-care assays in the field versus in the labora -tory. Scientists found that the point-of-care tests generally perform well, but perform even better when done by trained laboratorians. A publication detailing the study results will be published soon. “ Rapid advances in sequenc-ing and bioinformatics are revolutionizing microbiol-ogy. CDC is excited to be partnering with APHL and public health laboratories across the country to apply these technologies to benefit the health of all Americans.” Gregory L. Armstrong, MD, director, CDC Office of Advanced Molecular Detection 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT 9 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT 9

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