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May 20, 1992

Tuberculosis ControlBack to the Future?

Author Affiliations

From the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1992;267(19):2649-2650. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480190091039

Specialized facilities for tuberculosis (TB) have all but faded from the American health care system. With the introduction of isoniazid and other effective therapies, patients with TB became part of the mainstream of patients treated in general care hospitals and outpatient settings. This success, however, caused the awareness of TB to decrease among health care providers and the public. This complacency has now come to an abrupt halt with the heavily publicized outbreaks of multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in New York and Florida.1 Public awareness and fear of TB has been heightened through media coverage, including a recent cover story in Newsweek entitled "TB: Why It's Back and How We Can Protect Ourselves" (Newsweek. March 16,1992: 52-57). The fear of widespread dissemination of TB to other patients, health care workers, and the general public has prompted interest in reopening special TB facilities. But would these facilities, in fact,