By Mary-Kathryn Craft
Today is World TB Day, and one of S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s doctors has recently been recognized as a national leader in the fight to prevent and control tuberculosis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention selected State Medical TB Clinician Dr. F. Richard “Rick” Ervin as a U.S. TB Elimination Champion for making tremendous strides in efforts to end TB. Specifically, he incorporated the Tuberculin Skin Test in the 3D online tool in most patient evaluations. This quantitative estimation of risk of progression from Latent TB Infection to active disease assists in patient education and allows nurses to better prioritize case management to patients at highest risk and focus on completion of therapy.
In addition, Dr. Ervin incorporated the immediate use of the GeneXpert test, regardless of smear results, for more rapid clinical decision analysis in people referred to DHEC’s TB Control Program. This test detects presence of TB bacteria and tests for resistance to certain drugs.
The tool helps to quickly and objectively separate patients not representing a public health threat from those with TB disease requiring prompt therapeutic and contact investigation interventions.
Dr. Ervin’s constant advocacy has allowed DHEC nurses to achieve successful outcomes in TB elimination. Thanks to Dr. Ervin for his dedication to eliminating TB in South Carolina and setting an inspiring example for the nation.
To learn more about DHEC’s TB prevention program, visit www.scdhec.gov/tb/.