Michigan lab receives TB investigation contract

The Michigan Department of Community Health recently announced that its Bureau of Laboratories received a $3.6 million contract to provide tuberculosis genotyping for the entire U.S.

The contract from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will result in the molecular genetic testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis specimens from all 50 states at the state public health laboratory. M. tuberculosis is the organism that causes tuberculosis.

"This new contract to perform genetic testing for the entire United States positions Michigan as a national, as well as global leader, in terms of tuberculosis genotyping," James Haveman, the director of the MDCH, said. "Michigan residents can rest assured knowing that our laboratory is ready and equipped at all times to protect against the most dangerous public health threats."

Scientists use TB genotyping and epidemiological investigations to establish links between TB patients. Such information can help discover unsuspected TB cases and prevent further spread of the illness.

The MDCH was involved with the genotyping of M. tuberculosis since the technique was developed in the 1990s. The reward is the third such genotyping award made to the MDCH and will run from October through November 2017.

Tuberculosis causes close to 15,000 cases in the U.S. each year with about 120 cases annually in Michigan. If not treated properly, TB can be fatal.