Tuberculosis (TB) Program
NOTICE: There is a Rifampin shortage (PDF).
The Tuberculosis (TB) Program provides support to local public health agencies, private physicians, and health care facilities involved in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of Tuberculosis. The Program works to prevent transmission of TB through three strategies:
- By ensuring that infectious TB patients are appropriately treated until they are rendered and remain non-infectious.
- By ensuring that persons infected with TB who are not presently infectious remain non-infectious through the use of preventive drug therapy.
- By creating a community of health care providers knowledgeable in the diagnosis and treatment of TB infection and disease through the provision of educational programs across Kansas.
The Program provides medical consultation to health care providers, technical support to local health officials in conducting effective contact investigations, and free
anti-tuberculosis medications to patients through the health professionals treating patients with TB infection or TB disease. The program also maintains surveillance on the incidence of TB in Kansas to identify populations at increased risk for the disease.
Disease Reporting Requirements
State laws and regulations require that cases of tuberculosis be reported to the local or state health department. TB Program provides, free-of-charge, anti-tuberculosis medications to local health departments and medical providers for the treatment of TB disease. Additionally, preventive medications for individuals with TB infection are provided at no cost to local health departments or other medical providers.
In order to receive medications for a patient afflicted with TB infection, the health care provider or local health department must provide the state program information about the diagnostic screening of the patient (skin or blood test and chest x-ray results). For individuals with active TB disease, the local health department must provide information about the diagnostic screening of the patient along with information about the patient's treatment, potential contacts to the patient and other detailed information as requested on an ongoing basis.
The incidence rate for tuberculosis in Kansas for 2020 was less than two cases per 100,000 persons - approximately half the national U.S. rate, and a mere fraction of the historic rate. However, the program is now seeing a rise in the number of cases. Despite severe state budgetary challenges and the rippling effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Kansas Legislature has assured that the state will continue funding medications for program clients, regardless of cost. Most significantly, Kansas has already met Healthy People 2030 goals for decreasing the rate of new TB cases per 100,000 people. The program is striving to maintain this positive momentum as it works towards the World Health Organization's Sustainable Development Goals including ending the global TB epidemic by 2030.
By July 2024, the program plans to improve its testing, surveillance, and prophylactic treatment completion rates for infection, particularly among case contacts and
high-risk groups. Local health department staff will be trained in an established standardized case investigation protocol. Updates and maintenance of this protocol, an annual training and education plan, and Web-based reporting forms will be part of this effort. Health departments across the state will submit all tuberculosis information electronically and the Program will begin electronic infection reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Kansas Tuberculosis Program will also confront several unique challenges over the next five years. Increased involvement with local district attorneys, city councils, county and state legislatures is anticipated to encourage the prioritization of and investment in public health. As the Kansas population continues to diversify, the need for culturally competent skills and cross-culturally informed staff will become ever more crucial. Drug research is ongoing to produce medications with reduced side effects.
As public health enters the third decade of the 21st century, the Kansas Tuberculosis Program is poised to deliver services and interventions to further protect and enhance the health of Kansans.
Program Mission, Values & Global Elimination Efforts
The mission of the Kansas Tuberculosis Control Program is to protect and improve the health of all Kansans through an emphasis on accountability, active intervention, and prevention of TB. This mission drives the Program to achieve the national and global goal of TB elimination. Knowledge, commitment, teamwork, sense of direction, fiscal responsibility, and customer service are the hallmark values of the Kansas Tuberculosis Control Program. With the help of innovative solutions for medication inventory management and record-keeping, the Program now provides medications for nearly 90 percent of Kansas cases, regardless of health insurance status.