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Evaluation of a U.S. Public Health Laboratory Service for the Molecular Detection of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis
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    Crucial to interrupting the spread of tuberculosis (TB) is prompt implementation of effective treatment regimens. We evaluated satisfaction, comfort with interpretation, and use of molecular results from a public health service provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the molecular detection of drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC). An electronic survey instrument was used to collect information anonymously from U.S. Public Health Laboratories (PHL) that submitted at least one isolate of MTBC to CDC from September 2009 through February 2011. Over 97% of those responding expressed satisfaction with the turnaround time for receiving results. Twenty-six PHL (74%) reported molecular results to healthcare providers in less than two business days. When comparing the molecular results from CDC with their own phenotypic drug susceptibility testing, 50% of PHL observed discordance. No respondents found the molecular results difficult to interpret and 82% were comfortably discussing them with TB program officials and healthcare providers. Survey results indicate PHL were satisfied with CDC's ability to rapidly provide interpretable molecular results for isolates of MTBC submitted for determination of drug resistance. To develop educational materials and strategies for service improvement, reasons for discordant results and areas of confusion need to be identified.