By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
The Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) announced this week a $1.5 million grant to develop a new treatment and prevention program for latent tuberculosis (TB).
The grant funding will provide a three-year pilot program to create a comprehensive strategy to fight latent TB infection. The funding was made available through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
According to LCHC Infectious Disease Director Dr. Hanna Haptu, the LCHC is “ in a unique position to provide these critical services for TB infection at the grassroots level,” to some of the state’s highest risk and most underserved residents.
According to data from the CDC, some 13 million people in the United States live with latent TB infection. People with latent TB infection do not have symptoms and are not infectious; however, left untreated, 5 to 10 percent of those infected will develop TB at some point in their lives.
Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “We hope this exciting new initiative represents an invaluable first step in eventually eliminating TB in our communities, improving the health of our residents, and reducing healthcare costs associated with treatment for TB infection.”