Letters to the Editor

Physicians Should Collaborate with Local Health Department



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Am Fam Physician. 2009 Feb 1;79(3):180.

Original Article: Update on the Treatment of Tuberculosis

Issue Date: August 15, 2008

Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20080815/457.html

to the editor: Regarding the article on treatment of tuberculosis by Drs. Inge and Wilson, we would like to emphasize the importance of family physicians collaborating with the local health department for a number of reasons:

  1. suspected active tuberculosis is a reportable disease in most U.S. jurisdictions;

  2. management of active tuberculosis cases is often neither simple nor straightforward;

  3. most family physicians in the United States encounter tuberculosis relatively infrequently, whereas local or state health departments often employ highly experienced experts in tuberculosis management and follow-up of high-risk patients;

  4. local health departments have the resources to thoroughly investigate all potential at-risk contacts to a case of tuberculosis, and to make recommendations about monitoring and/or providing preventive therapy for at-risk contacts;

  5. health departments may assist with outreach education of health care personnel;

  6. unlike family physicians’ offices, health departments frequently have staff dedicated to providing directly observed therapy for both latent and active cases of tuberculosis; and

  7. upon request, local health department staff will help manage cases of tuberculosis in close collaboration with the family’s physician.

For tuberculosis and many other communicable diseases, the local health department is a valuable and often underused resource for family physicians.

Author disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.

Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.



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