The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) co-hosted a World TB Day webinar for TB elimination partners and public health TB program staff entitled The Tuberculosis Epidemic: Impact in California and Strategies to Reach Elimination on April 8th.
There are more than 2 million Californians living with latent TB infection (LTBI). LTBI is when the TB bacteria are found in the body but not causing symptoms, illness and cannot be spread to others.
85% of those diagnosed with TB disease in California in 2020 developed TB from LTBI.
Only 20% of those with LTBI are aware that they are living with LTBI.
The CTCA CC enthusiastically embraced a new CC member’s TikTok ideas and research. After several presentations to key CTCA committees, planning got underway. A CTCA TikTok Channel (EndTBCalifornia) was created and linked to the www.ctca.org homepage. A video theme was created, a magic wand challenge, asking participants to answer the question, “if you could make any fact about tuberculosis common knowledge to the public, what would you choose?”
By partnering with private health care providers and other service and advocacy organizations, with a focus to improve the health and well being of those disproportionately impacted by TB, we aim to increase routine screening for TB risks, testing of those with a risk for TB, and treating those with latent TB infection (LTBI) before TB disease threatens their life and the lives of their families and friends.
TB Risk + Positive TB Test = Treatment to prevent TB disease.
In January 2021, the CTCA Communications Committee (CC) Co-Chairs decided to launch a monthly journal club that takes place the hour before CC meetings. The journal club provides members with an opportunity to read the latest relevant publications for TB CC efforts. The initial meeting focused on the publication:
Shining a light on an invisible, dormant threat, Insights for developing a communications campaign to encourage testing and treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection, Fall 2020.
The two entities requiring routine TB screening of Health Care Personnel in California are Licensing and Certification and CalOSHA. Both have temporarily relaxed routine TB testing requirements to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 during the extended response. Our Health Care Personnel TB Screening resource page, located under “Guidance” on ctca.org, describes these posted changes. Though temporary, we are hopeful that at the end of the emergency response, we will come into agreement with national guidance.
Dr. Jennifer Flood, Chief of the California Department of Public Health TB Control Branch presented the 2019 California TB data, highlighting epidemiologic changes and recommending areas of focus to address the disparate impact of TB in the year ahead. And Dr. Jacek Skarbinski of Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, presented his Kaiser TB care cascade study and plan to increase IGRA testing and treatment of latent TB infection (LTBI) to prevent TB disease in their patient subpopulations at risk for developing TB disease.
TB Patient Peer Support Navigator, Jackie (she/her), will pilot a peer support outreach effort for CTCA in partnership with the San Diego County Tuberculosis Control and Refugee Health Program. An expert in her own experience with TB and fluent in Spanish and English, Jackie is eager to offer support to TB patients.
The CTCA Executive Committee made it their top priority to bring the California TB community together to focus on TB and connect with one another, during this extended emergency COVID-19 response.
While we focus on the new threat, an old one may be gaining strength. With medical providers focusing on COVID-19 and patients delaying care, infectious disease experts in California are concerned that TB is going undiagnosed. Concerns are growing that TB could be spreading among those with COVID-19, undetected. When HIV/AIDS emerged in the U.S., TB surged in those communities heavily impacted.