Epidemiology of Tuberculosis

Michael Lauzardo, MD, MSc

Title:  Chief and Associate Professor
College: Medicine
Department:  Medicine; Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
Research Interests:  Latent Tuberculosis (TB) treatment, molecular epidemiology of TB, global health, TB treatment

Faculty Profile

Michael Lauzardo is the  Director of the CDC funded Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center (SNTC) at the University of Florida, College of Medicine, and has been involved in public health, teaching, and patient care at the University of Florida, College of Medicine since 1997. Trained as an internist and pulmonologist, throughout his career he has been involved in the clinical care of patients with tuberculosis. He has also played a key role with the Florida Department of Health serving as the Deputy TB Controller for the Florida TB Program and is currently the Director of the Florida TB Physicians Network. Since 2012, he has been the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine. His clinical practice and research centers around tuberculosis among at-risk populations and he is involved in various international health activities.

Molecular Epidemiology of Tuberculosis 

Molecular epidemiology using spacer oligonucleotide typing (Spoligotyping), mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units variable number tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR) and whole genome sequencing) have been instrumental to the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) outbreaks in the community by classifying strains into clusters of isolates with identical genotype patterns, with clustering serving as a proxy measure for transmission. Our lab is working to better define how these tools can best be used to identify and intervene in TB outbreaks.

Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium

The Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium, or TBESC, study is a multi-site collaborative effort funded and directed by the CDC. Our group is one of ten sites in the United States. In recent years, the U.S. has recorded the lowest TB rates in history. One factor that has contributed to this decline is a strong scientific approach to TB control. To accelerate the decline and achieve the goal of TB elimination, research is needed for improved diagnostic tools, treatments, and approaches. Preventing TB disease by detecting and treating those with latent TB infection is a cornerstone of the U.S. strategy for TB elimination. It is estimated that more than 11 million people in the U. S. have latent TB infection; however, most of these people are unaware of their infection.  If not treated, about 5 to 10 percent of people with latent TB infection will develop TB disease. This equates to approximately 550,000 to 1.1 million people in the U.S. diagnosis and treatment of latent TB infection can be difficult with existing diagnostic tools and treatment regimens.

The primary objectives of the TBESC study:

  • Evaluates tests used to detect latent TB infection. These tests include the tuberculin skin test (TST) and the interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs): QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT), and T-SPOT®.TB test (T-Spot).
  • Compares the ability of the TST and IGRAs to predict progression from latent TB infection to TB disease. This study is one of the largest of its kind. Approximately 6,000 patients will be enrolled each year for a total enrollment of about 42,000 patients over a 7-year period.

TBESC will also evaluate:

  • Strategies to ensure latent TB infection treatment acceptance and completion.
  • Shorter, safer, and cost-effective latent TB infection treatment regimens.