TB Core Curriculum

Essentials for the Mycobacteriology Laboratory:
​​Free, high quality training at your convenience

This series of free, interactive modules, developed by APHL in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, promotes competency, quality and safety in common mycobacteriology testing practices. Designed for laboratorians at all levels of experience, each module in the series is complimented by references and resources. Modules are available in PDF format for use in laboratory training programs.

Users are encouraged to view the modules as frequently as needed. Additional modules are now in development. Please check this site frequently for new content.


Overview of Tuberculosis

Online | PDF

Run time: 15 minutes
This module presents an overview of TB disease, testing algorithm, basic epidemiology, global and national burdens, transmission, clinical presentation and treatment.

Laboratory Safety: Work Practices for Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Online | PDF

Run time: 24 minutes
This module covers safe work practices related to procedures involved in mycobacteriology testing.

Additional Resources

Specimen Collection, Transport, Handling, and Processing

Online | PDF

Run time: 38 minutes
This modules discussed pre-analytic factors contributing to specimen quality that impact patient diagnosis and treatment. The content compares collection, storage and transport of different specimen types (e.g., respiratory and non-respiratory) and explains the principles of specimen processing.

Additional Resources

AFB Smear Microscopy

Online | PDF

Run time: 33 minutes
This modules discusses principles of AFB staining techniques, fluorescence microscopy, and accurate identification and grading of AFB in smears.

Additional Resources

Overview of Mycobacterial Culture, Identification, and Drug Susceptibility Testing

Online | PDF

Run time: 10 minutes
This module offers a basic introduction to the practices and principles for mycobacterial culture, identification of mycobacteria, and growth-based drug susceptibility testing.

Mycobacterial Culture

Online | PDF

Run time: 32 minutes
This module describes the importance of mycobacterial culture, best practices for using solid and liquid media, results reporting and addressing common issues such as contamination.

Identification of Mycobacteria

Online | PDF

Run time: 32 minutes
This module discusses classical and emerging methods for identification of mycobacteria, including advantages, limitations, and the importance of accurate and quality results.

Drug Susceptibility Testing for MTB Complex

Online | PDF

Run time: 47 minutes
This module provides background on drug resistance and culture-based drug susceptibility testing methods. It covers turnaround times and results reporting, discordant results, and practices to ensure quality.

Molecular Biology 101

Online | PDF

Run time: 42 minutes
This module will provide a brief overview of the basics of molecular testing methods and will cover 4 areas: Principles of Molecular Biology, Applying the Concepts of Molecular Biology, Workflow, Contamination, Safety, and Regulation and Considerations for TB Molecular Testing.

Molecular Detection and Identification of Mycobacteria

Online | PDF

Run time: 43 minutes
This module will cover the direct detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) in clinical specimens as well as the identification of MTB complex and other mycobacteria from culture.

Molecular Detection of Drug Resistance

Online | PDF

Run time: 65 minutes
This module will answer the question "Why the increased interest in molecular diagnostics for TB?"


APHL sincerely thanks all who contributed their time and subject matter expertise to develop and produce these courses.

Project Leaders:

Julie Tans-Kersten
Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene
Angela Starks
Chief, Laboratory Branch, CDC/DTBE
William Murtaugh
Specialist, TB Program, APHL
Kelly Wroblewski
Director, Infectious Disease Programs, APHL

Content Development:

Dave Warshauer
Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene
Michael Pentella
Massachusetts William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute
Jane Voyles
Arkansas State Public Health Laboratory
Roy Tu’ua
Missouri State Public Health Laboratory
Ken Jost Jr.
Texas Department of State Health Services
Jafar Razeq
Maryland Department of Health
Alla Ostash
Washington State Public Health Laboratories
Robin Connelly
Georgia Public Health Laboratory
Mary DeMartino
Massachusetts William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute
Tracy Stiles
Massachusetts William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute
Tracy Dalton
Laboratory Capacity Team, CDC/DTBE
Frances Tyrrell
Laboratory Capacity Team, CDC/DTBE
Cortney Stafford
Laboratory Capacity Team, CDC/DTBE

APHL acknowledges and sincerely thanks the Fairfax County Public Health Laboratory and the Maryland DHMH Laboratories Administration for their time and contribution in providing many of the images used throughout the presentations. 

The presenter for the "Overview of Tuberculosis," "AFB Smear Microscopy," "Identification of Mycobacteria," and "Drug Susceptibility Testing for MTB Complex" modules is Julie Tans-Kersten, Wisconsin Laboratory of Hygiene.

The presenter for the "Laboratory Biosafety" and "Specimen Collection, Transport, Handling, and Processing" modules is Mary DeMartino, Massachusetts William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute.

The presenter for the "Overview of Mycobacterial Culture, Identification and Drug Susceptibility Testing" as well as "Mycobacterial Culture" modules is Tracy Stiles, Massachusetts William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute.

This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement # U60HM000803 from CDC and/or Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC and/or Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.