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TB, H1N1 - Collaboration could yield 'win-win' result

As concern about H1N1 influenza rises, health services may find themselves forced to divert resources away from other respiratory diseases, including TB.

Addressing the European Respiratory Society 2009 Annual Congress in Vienna, WHO Stop TB Department coordinator for HIV, TB and drug resistance, Dr Paul Nunn, argued that while some switching of funding to H1N1 may be inevitable, the priority should be to develop collaborative activities that yield a “win-win” result in the fight against both H1N1 and TB.

Since adults of reproductive age are the main victims of TB, and in the current H1N1 pandemic 75 percent of those affected are in the age range 0-29, significant overlapping of the two epidemics may be likely.

During an influenza pandemic there are clear public health risks attached to the curtailment and or interruption of TB diagnostic and treatment services. Even with effective TB treatment available, the influenza pandemic could still complicate the clinical management of TB patients and even increase the risk of death through either a primary viral pneumonitis or a secondary bacterial pneumonia.

WHO Stop TB Department has produced an information note on H1N1 and TB and is recommending that country preparedness plans for an influenza pandemic should be coordinated with TB programmes to ensure, as far as possible, that TB service delivery is not compromised and that national TB programmes are prepared to assist in managing an influenza epidemic.

TB programmes have extensive experience of delivering treatment in the most decentralized settings, including the management of drugs and other commodities, recording and reporting of cases and monitoring and evaluation of outcomes. These skills may need to be utilized for delivery of influenza services in severe epidemics.

The current influenza threat is bringing attention to the need to scale up proper infection control for all respiratory infections in health care settings. Furthermore, drug resistance is being reported in isolated cases of H1N1, and surveillance for influenza drug resistance is underway. This is another possible area for collaboration between TB and influenza programmes. WHO Stop TB has also produced an information note on H1N1 and tuberculosis:

» Read WHO H1N1 Information

Stop TB PartnershipThe Stop TB Partnership is a proactive global force in TB control. Established in 2000, the Stop TB Partnership is a large network of organizations working together to realize a common vision of a world free of TB. Housed by the World Health Organization, the Stop TB Partnership consists of a Secretariat and seven working groups coordinated by a 32-member board. American Air & Water joined the Stop TB Partnership in 2007.

About American Air & Water®, Inc. - American Air & Water®, Inc. specializes in research, development, marketing and sales of air, surface and water germicidal UV disinfection systems and providing solutions for reducing human exposure to environmental pollutants and controlling the spread of harmful microorganisms inside homes, offices, hospitals, schools, farms, food plants and laboratories.

American Air & Water®, Inc. holds GSA Multiple Awards Schedule contracts # GS-07F-0256U for UV systems and lamps and GS-07F-0178V for Sporicidin Disinfectant products.



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