UTHCT conference on tuberculosis features latest information on treating, managing, and preventing TB

Friday, December 2, 2005

Tuberculosis is a disease that kills nearly two million people worldwide each year. About eight million people develop tuberculosis annually. In the United States an estimated 10 to 15 million residents are infected with TB and have the potential to develop the disease.

From Tuesday, Dec. 6, through Friday, Dec. 9, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler will host “Tuberculosis Intensive,” a conference designed to help health care providers improve their treatment and management of patients with TB, as well as improve their efforts to prevent tuberculosis. The conference is sponsored by UTHSCT’s Heartland National TB center, a partnership between UTHSCT and the Texas Center for Infectious Disease (TCID) in San Antonio.

“The Tuberculosis Intensive is the first of what we anticipate will be an annual conference. With the combined expertise of UTHSCT and Heartland National TB Center, the conference offers a concentrated, up-to-date review of all aspects of tuberculosis,” said Barbara Seaworth, MD, medical director of the center and associate professor of medicine at UTHSCT. About 40 people from Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas are expected to attend the conference.

Tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial infection that usually targets the lungs, though other organs sometimes are involved. Most people with TB do not have symptoms of the disease, but many develop active TB each year.

David Griffith, MD, assistant medical director of the Heartland Center and professor of medicine at UTHSCT, said, “The conference is an important way to distribute current and comprehensive data about managing tuberculosis. It also provides face-to-face educational opportunities for people in the Heartland Center’s 13-state region who are involved in the prevention and treatment of TB.”

UTHSCT personnel presenting at the conference are: Dr. Griffith; Dr. Seaworth; Rodolfo Amaro, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and the physician in charge of the Pediatric TB Clinic; Peter Barnes, MD, director of the Center for Pulmonary and Infectious Disease Control; Mike Borucki, MD, associate professor of infectious disease and internal medicine; James Caccitolo, MD, clinical assistant professor of cardiovascular surgery; Dave Finlay, MD, chair of the Department of Radiology; David Lakey, MD, chief of clinical infectious disease; Jeff Levin, MD, MSPH, chair of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; and Richard Wallace, MD, chair of infectious disease and chair of the Department of Microbiology.

The conference also features presenters from the Mayo Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Heartland Center began earlier this year, funded by a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UTHSCT and TCID operate the center, which provides training, technical assistance, and medical consultation for tuberculosis in these states: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

The Heartland Center has two major goals. The first is to develop and implement standardized TB training, technical assistance, and education, as well as training for core and specialized TB courses. The second is to establish a system of medical consultation services consistent with TB guidelines and best practices.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.