Mycobacterium tuberculosis

APHL develops, promotes, updates, and disseminates guidance related to Tuberculosis (TB) testing best practices nationwide in close collaboration with the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) at CDC. Commonly considered a disease of the past, TB is resurging in new and virtually untreatable forms that have the potential to cause debilitating disease in our nation's most vulnerable residents. Diagnostic laboratories play instrumental roles in fighting TB by identifying and isolating Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB disease through the use and application of novel diagnostic techniques.​​

Education and Training  

A set of free and interactive training modules, the “Essentials for the Mycobacteriology Laboratory: Promoting Quality Practices” are an on-demand resource to promote competency, quality and safety in common mycobacteriology testing practices. Designed for laboratorians at all levels of experience, each module in the series is complemented by references and resources. This set of training modules were updated in 2020 with the most current information and recommendations.  

*Note: Due to the most recent update many of the modules are now eligible for continuing education credit.

Drug Susceptibility Testing

In 2015, APHL in collaboration with CDC established a National PHL Drug Susceptibility (DST) Reference Center for Mycobacterium tuberculosis to provide quality-assured drug susceptibility testing for eligible US public health laboratories. The reference center serves as an extension of CDC’s Division of TB Elimination Laboratory Branch providing services that are harmonized with and complementary to those available at CDC.

The TB subcommittee has developed and published white papers covering current guidelines, recommendations and research findings as well as issues in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex (MTBC) drug susceptibility testing.

Self-Assessment Tool

In 2019, APHL and CDC updated the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis: Assessing Your Laboratory, a tool designed originally in 1995, to assist laboratories in the assessment of the quality of their laboratory’s TB diagnostic practices. The most recent updates reflect changes to TB diagnostics over the last six years since the 2013 version was published. The 2019 version was updated to align with current guidelines and recommendations and includes additional questions to address safety considerations and inactivation for downstream applications as well as clearer items to assess employee competency. Learn more.