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,
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
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
The 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
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