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N.C. Tuberculosis Control Program

Partners

By state law in North Carolina, any health care provider who diagnoses or suspects a case of TB must notify the county's local health department director within 24 hours. That notification must be followed by a written report. Treatment of the patient is begun immediately. At the same time, health officials start investigating to find out where the person may have contracted the disease and where else it may have spread. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others in the community who are considered to have been exposed to the disease may be given a simple skin test or a blood test. Those whose tests are positive receive followup testing to see if they have developed the disease and are treated as needed.

Tracking, treating and stopping the spread of tuberculosis requires the cooperation of all healthcare providers and health agencies, especially:

Local Health Departments

North Carolina's local public health departments External link have the primary responsibility for TB control efforts in their own county or counties. Local health departments focus on both personal health and public health. By state law, the health department must be notified within 24 hours of any diagnosed or suspected case of tuberculosis. The health department works with other agencies and private physicians to plan effectively for the care of the person with TB disease and any other persons who have been exposed to and/or infected with TB. Each local health department has a nurse who is responsible for TB control activities.

Health department tuberculosis program services involve:

  • Case management, including providing and directly observing that medication is taken;
  • Case investigation, which means figuring out how the patient became infected and whether the disease has spread to others;
  • Community interventions, which are steps to prevent the spread of the disease and include providing and monitoring preventive treatment and evaluating disease trends; and
  • Community prevention measures, such as communication, coordination, education and promoting awareness among all health care providers and the general public.

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Private Healthcare Providers

Physicians and other private health care providers should report within 24 hours any diagnosed or suspected case of tuberculosis to their local health department. They work with the health department and other agencies to develop and carry out effective care plans for persons with TB disease and any other persons who have been exposed to and/or infected with TB.

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N.C. Tuberculosis Control Program

The N.C. TB Control Program in the Division of Public Health supports tuberculosis control efforts by:

  • Funding local (county) health departments to partially support staff and/or operating costs;
  • Supplying TB medications to health departments to be provided at NO COST to patients being treated for disease or disease prevention;
  • Providing medical, nursing, and health education consultation, evaluation, and quality assurance to communities, individuals, local health departments, and private healthcare providers; and
  • Funding TB education and outreach at selected community-based organizations serving high-risk populations.

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Duke University Medical Center

An active partner in the fight against TB, the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine External link at Duke University Medical Center partners with the North Carolina Tuberculosis Control Program to provide medical expertise to aid health care teams and researchers.

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Tuberculosis Medical Advisory Committee

This group provides input for state TB Control program policy development. Advisory committee members include healthcare professionals from local health departments, medical centers, teaching institutions, clinics and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) from across the state, as well as physicians with a special interest in tuberculosis.

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American Lung Association of the Southeast

ALA of the Southeast External link supports tuberculosis control endeavors by:

  • Administering grant funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the TB Control program:
    • Incentive money for health departments to purchase or provide small incentives to ensure that TB patients properly complete TB drug therapy; and
    • Funds for temporary housing for homeless people to ensure TB disease treatment completion through Directly Observed Therapy, where a health professional makes certain the patient receives and takes every dose of medication.
  • Providing professional education through:
    • The Tuberculosis/Respiratory Disease Institute,
    • N.C. Thoracic Society meetings, and
    • Written educational materials.

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Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center

The Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center (SNTC) External link is one of four CDC-funded Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers (RTMCC) across the U.S. Located at the Gainesville campus of the University of Florida College of Medicine, the Center provides training, technical assistance and medical consultation for tuberculosis healthcare professionals in 11 southeastern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The SNTC provided speakers and arranged for continuing medical education and contact hours for the N.C. DPH annual Tuberculosis Symposium for local health departments.

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State Laboratory for Public Health

The State Laboratory for Public Health supports tuberculosis control efforts by providing laboratory services at no charge to public and private health care providers.

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