New international standards for tuberculosis care published

Led by the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), a consortium of international health agencies today published on the World Wide Web the first International Standards for Tuberculosis Care (ISTC).

"The purpose of the ISTC," said Philip C. Hopewell, M.D., who co-chaired the committee that produced the standards and who is a past president of the ATS, "is to establish a widely accepted level of care that all practitioners, public and private, should achieve in managing patients who have, or are suspected of having, tuberculosis."

The committee met under the auspices of the Tuberculosis Coalition for Technical Assistance (TBCTA). In addition to the ATS and WHO, the TBCTA includes the Dutch Tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (the UNION), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the development and dissemination of the ISTC.

The ISTC is part of the WHO's new Stop TB Strategy and the Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015 developed by the Stop TB Partnership. The Stop TB Partnership consists of more than 300 organizations worldwide that are concerned with tuberculosis care and control.

The number of new cases of tuberculosis continues to grow: Each year, between 8 and 9 million new cases occur worldwide. Though curable, two million people die from the disease each year.

The burden of tuberculosis prevalence and mortality falls disproportionately on the world's poorest countries. Ninety-five percent of those infected live in the developing world, and case rates are especially high in parts of the world where HIV infection is highly prevalent.

The ISTC is designed to address the care of patients of all ages with any manifestation of the disease, including multi-drug resistant and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis and tuberculosis combined with HIV infe

Contact: Brian Kell
American Thoracic Society

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