Mobile Version - May - June 2020

From the Director Dr. Jonathan Mermin

Our nation continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, which has deeply affected all aspects of public health, medical care, education, and society. COVID-19 has disrupted the programs that sustain our public health response to HIV, viral hepatitis, STDs, TB, and school health. This requires us to think of new and creative ways to address longstanding issues. While the urgency of COVID-19 is paramount, we have not lost sight of other infectious diseases that affect peoples’ lives. On April 4 2020, CDC released a Vital Signs on increases in hepatitis C infections across all ages and new, related hepatitis C screening recommendations. The Vital Signs reports that during 2018 there were an estimated 50,300 new hepatitis C virus infections. This represents a three-fold increase in the number of new infections over the past decade. In addition, the increasing prevalence of hepatitis C among people of reproductive age put our very youngest at risk of infection because hepatitis C virus can be transmitted from mother to infant during pregnancy and childbirth. The report also supports the new CDC screening recommendation for all adults over 18 and pregnant women. New recommendations include:

  • one-time screening for all adults 18 years and older,
  • screening of all pregnant women during every pregnancy, and
  • testing for all people with risk factors, continuing testing regularly for those with ongoing risk.

2018 State and City TB Report

The 2018 State and City TB report provides key process and outcome measures used by TB control programs in the United States to monitor progress towards TB elimination at the state and local levels. CDC selected these indicators in cooperation with partners in state and local health departments. Data for calculating these indicators are derived from the National Tuberculosis Surveillance System (NTSS) and the Aggregate Reports for Program Evaluation (ARPE). CDC publishes indicator data to assist TB programs in:

  • evaluating progress toward achievement of national objectives through monitoring of TB program performance,
  • assessing the need for education and technical assistance, and
  • identifying areas that need improvement.

Learn more about our goals to reduce TB incidence.

Drug Shortages

In late 2019, U.S. TB programs and the National TB Controllers Association (NTCA) began reporting difficulties with procuring rifapentine. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) continues to list a shortage of rifapentine (Priftin) tablets, although the severity of the situation appears to have ameliorated. For more information on latent TB treatment regimens, visit our website.

As of 04/14/2020, there is a shortage of azithromycin tablets. Azithromycin is the recommended treatment for chlamydia, nongonococcal urethritis, and cervicitis. It is also used in the recommended dual therapy for gonorrhea. Alternative regimens for chlamydia, nongonococcal urethritis, and cervicitis are outlined in the 2015 STD Treatment Guidelines.