Tracking Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Real-Time
By Health Canal | June 14, 2013 1:16 PM EST
TORONTO, ON - Professor Frances Jamieson at the University of Toronto's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP), and Medical Microbiologist, Public Health Ontario, is leading the way in tracking potentially deadly outbreaks of tuberculosis (TB) with a powerful new Geographic Information System (GIS) application, known as Ontario Universal Typing - Tuberculosis (OUT-TB) Web.
Not just applicable to TB, this secure web-based system could be used to monitor a host of pathogens and diseases from E. coli O157:H7 to meningitis to SARS-like outbreaks across the country. "We can identify and track existing and emerging strains of TB and this powerful technology can be applied to any type of infectious disease," said Prof. Jamieson. "Eighty-five per cent of our TB cases in Ontario are foreign-born, so this system will allow us to have a global impact."
This sophisticated system combines patient data and demographics with the genotype or "fingerprint" of each TB strain. It provides health authorities with a unique real-time geographical view of tuberculosis cases and clusters and allows them to track potential outbreaks. More specifically, it can track whether cases are linked genotypically, geographically and epidemiologically, and whether a case involves drug-resistant strain(s).
Working at the Public Health Ontario laboratory, the largest TB laboratory in North America, Prof. Jamieson recognized the need for such a system. "We really are leading the way with OUT-TB. We can combine pre-existing patient information such as location and other demographics with our laboratory results. We tell the public health units what strain type of TB they have, what drug treatment is appropriate and we track whether the strain is drug-resistant."
TB is a global problem and it ranks as the second leading cause of death from an infectious agent worldwide. The World Health Organization reports that in 2011, 8.7 million people fell ill with the disease and 1.4 million people died. While overall rates have been declining, health authorities are concerned about the threat of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), which is resistant to two of the most effective first-line drugs. Even more concerning is the threat of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which is resistant to these first-line drugs, at least one of the injectable second-line drugs and a fluoroquinolone.
"OUT-TB allows us to understand the specifics of a single case and how it relates to other cases in the community, the province and the global movement of individuals," said Prof. Jamieson. OUT-TB will be available to local public health units as they work with Public Health Ontario to monitor, detect and manage TB in the province. To see a demonstration of OUT-TB please visit our YouTube channel.
Join the Conversation
- Australia to Host Human Tests for New Brain Tumour Treatment
- Medical Marijuana Ads In Canada Facing Crackdown: Health Canada Issues Warning Letters To 20 Licensed Producers
- Ebola Vaccine Shows High Immune System Response In Early Tests; Australia Lifts Travel Ban on Congo
- Ellen DeGeneres Gives El Cajon Man With Viral Weight Loss Video Ford Mustang
- Viral 'Do They Know Its Christmas?' Video With Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Sam Smith Raises $1.5 Million For Ebola In Minutes
- 5 Proofs Russia is Geared-Up for Shooting War with U.S. and Can Win Future Nuclear Showdown
- Target’s ‘Surprise Doorbusters’ Black Friday 2014 Deals On TV Sets, Entertainment Centres, DVD Players And More
- IKEA Black Friday 2014 Ad Includes Discounts On Home Furnishings, Appliances, Kitchen Designs, Beds, Sofas, Mattresses And Toys
- T-Mobile’s Black Friday 2014 Deals On Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4/Edge, Nexus 6, HTC One M8, LG G3, iPad Air 2 And Mini 3
- ISIS Drug Transit From Afghanistan To Europe Confirmed By Russia: Money Goes Into Terror Funding And In New Recruitments
- Bill Clinton At It Again, Caught By Camera In Jerusalem Peeking At Woman’s Breast
- Walmart Canada Black Friday 2014 Ad For Nov. 28, 2014 Up To Dec. 1, 2014 Includes Savings On The iPad Mini 16GB And The Beats Solo HD Drenched Headphones