Tuberculosis is a serious re-emerging infectious disease. An estimated 10-15 million United States (US) citizens have latent tuberculosis infections, and without detection and treatment, approximately 10% of these individuals will develop tuberculosis at some point in their lives. Costly tuberculosis outbreaks still occur. The growing threat of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively-drug resistant (XDR) TB not only leads to increased cases of tuberculosis but also increased costs. Tuberculosis-related healthcare costs approach $1 billion each year in the US.
Quality laboratory testing is essential in order to reach the goal of TB elimination in the US. Improvements in laboratory testing must be maintained and translated into expedited and improved treatment and control. It is imperative that the laboratory community provides healthcare providers and TB controllers with accurate smear, culture, drug susceptibility and molecular results within acceptable turn-around times while providing a safe work environment for laboratorians. Mycobacterium Tuberculosis: Assessing Your Laboratory is intended to be used as a self-assessment tool to provide information on best-practices in the laboratory and an opportunity to thoroughly review your procedures, assign priorities, and adopt a plan to update and improve your laboratory practices if needed.