Member highlight: The Zoonotic TB Sub-Section *

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious, contagious disease caused by mycobacteria. Different species of mycobacteria have complex cross-infection patterns between domestic animals, wildlife species and humans.

The Union’s Zoonotic TB Sub-Section is a global network of physicians, veterinarians, researchers, economists and social anthropologists working to understand the dynamics of zoonotic TB and create global awareness.

The human-animal interface has become a frontier of keen interest to a wide range of stakeholders, including The Union, who seek to understand host-pathogen interactions, especially in resource-limited settings.

Veterinarian Dr Alejandro Perera of Mexico studies bovine tuberculosis (M bovis), which brings both public health risks and economic losses from inspection and carcass condemnation to culling and farmer compensation.

Dr Perera has also participated in diagnosis and prevention research through a US-Mexico effort to create a bovine TB serum bank used to develop and validate new diagnostic tools.

Dr Adrian Muwonge is a Ugandan molecular epidemiologist working with the Roslin institute to understand the spread, diagnostics and evolution of the M tuberculosis complex at the animal-human-animal interface.

In addition to cattle and domestic livestock, bovine TB affects wild animals. US-based Dr Francisco Olea-Popelka has been involved in efforts to understand and control TB at the cattle-badger interface in Ireland.

Wild animals, such as lions, can get TB from eating infected prey. This lion is being tested using a bronchial wash to detect mycobacteria infection.

Even elephants get TB, usually the same type that affects humans: M tuberculosis. If you are interested in these issues, you are welcome to join The Union’s Zoonotic TB Sub-Section.

Scientific Sections and Working Groups

The Union's scientific sections and working groups offer members an opportunity to affiliate with others who share the same interests and collaborate on research, publications and projects. One of their principal activities is to propose sessions and contribute to the planning of The Union World Conference on Lung Health, the largest annual conference focusing on lung health issues as they affect low- and middle income populations. They also participate in the governance of The Union through the General Assembly.

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Scientific Sections

As a member, you will choose one of the following sections and sub-sections (optional) to affiliate with:

  • Tuberculosis Section
    • Nurses & Allied Professionals Sub-Section
    • Bacteriology & Immunology Sub-Section
    • Zoonotic TB Sub-Section
  • Tobacco Control Section
    • Nurses & Allied Professionals Sub-Section
  • Adult and Child Lung Health Section (consists of adult and child lung health, including childhood TB)
    • Nurses & Allied Professionals Sub-Section
  • HIV Section
    • Nurses & Allied Professionals Sub-Section

Working Groups

As a section member, you will also be invited to join up to three working groups. Current working groups include:

  • TB, HIV and Tobacco
  • TB and mental health
  • TB control in prisons
  • TB and migration
  • TB infection control
  • Best practice for patient-centred care
  • Regional mobilisation of nurses & allied professionals
  • TB education and training
  • Global Indigeneous Stop TB Initiative
  • Countering tobacco industry interference in public health policies
  • Getting research into tobacco control policy at regional and country level
  • Creating global awareness of zoonotic TB
  • Asthma managment in low- and middle-income countries
  • Maternal-child TB   
  • Air pollution and lung health
  • Drug-resistant TB
  • Tuberculosis and ethics

Examples of recent activities

  • The TB Laboratory Accreditation Working Group: A revised version of the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) tool was launched in 2013 with the assistance of this Working Group. The new edition of the tool, which helps TB laboratories implement quality management systems, was adapted to the new ISO 151-89:2012 quality standard. It is both more user-friendly and more detailed and enables users to construct their own focused laboratory assessment checklists. Funding for the GLI tool update was provided by TB CARE I. Click here to download the guide.
  • The TB Control in Prisons Working Group conducted a global consultation and review of evidence, then finalised an official Union statement outlining key recommendations for preventing risk and providing care that was published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease in January 2013. Please click here to read the statement.  In 2013, members of this group also contributed a chapter on TB in a guide to health for European prisons and helped several countries conduct studies of TB in their prison facilities this year. 
  • The TB Social Determinants and Ethics Working Group invited articles and obtained funding for a supplement on “Ethics and Social Determinants in Tuberculosis Care and Control”, which was published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, in a supplement in June 2011.
  • The Best Practices for Patient Care Working Group developed a guide to the practical aspects of TB patient care for nurses and allied professionals in low-income countries that has now been published in English, French, Spanish and Russian. Click here to download the guide.
  • The Tobacco Cessation Interventions for Tuberculosis Patients Working Group's efforts led to the development of the ABC approach outlined in The Union guide Smoking cessation and smokefree environments for tuberculosis patients published in 2010. The ABC approach has now been piloted in Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal and South Africa.

To find out more about sections, sub-sections and working groups and how to get involved, please contact us.