2016 Press Releases

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ATS Applauds Recommendation for TB Screening in High Risk Groups

(September 6, 2016) -- The American Thoracic Society (ATS) welcomes the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) statement recommending screening for TB infection in high-risk populations. This new recommendation will facilitate latent TB infection (LTBI) screening for at-risk adults as a free preventive service covered by most private health insurance plans, Medicaid and Medicare. The recommendation will prevent active TB cases in the U.S. by ensuring that more people in the U.S. with TB infection will be identified, diagnosed and treated.

ATS President David Gozal, MD, said, “The USPSTF’s decision is an important step in the efforts geared toward TB elimination in the U.S. and for public health overall.”

“Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death from an infectious agent around the world,” said Kevin Fennelly, MD, MPH, a TB expert who heads the Assembly for Microbiology, Tuberculosis and Pulmonary Infections at ATS.

He added:  “By eliminating the cost barrier for high-risk populations to be diagnosed with LTBI, this new recommendation will help prevent the development of active TB, which is the form that can be transmitted through the air from person to person.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are up to 13 million people in the U.S. with Mycobacterium tuberculosis or TB infection. The identification and treatment of this population is a critical element of the CDC’s efforts to eliminate TB in the U.S. and halt the global pandemic.