The First International Post-Tuberculosis Symposium at Stellenbosch

The first International Post-TB Symposium has just taken place at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, with The Union’s newly formed working group for post-TB chronic respiratory disorders playing a key role in its establishment and operation.

Around 65 invited delegates from around the world took part in the two-day event held on Monday 22 July and Tuesday 23 July and chaired by Dr Brian Allwood, Consultant Pulmunologist at Stellenbosch University.

Professor Kevin Mortimer, The Union’s Director of Lung Health, said: “This was first ever international symposium on the sequelae and complications of TB, where experts, researchers and thought leaders gathered to share knowledge and reach consensus, and identify research priorities in the field.”

The aims and objectives of the symposium were to:

  • advocate for patients suffering with post-TB complications
  • facilitate face-to-face networking between leaders in the field
  • define the current state of knowledge surrounding post-TB disease, in a number of important areas
  • achieve consensus on important aspects of post-TB lung diseases, including the definitions of post-TB complications, pathology, disease and outcomes
  • Define and highlight future priority research needs
  • And produce a reference document (“Proceedings of the Symposium”) for researchers and workers in the field 

The Symposium followed publication last week of ’Long-term all-cause mortality in people treated for tuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis’ in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

This saw researchers from McGill University and the University of British Columbia undertake a systematic and rigorous review of thousands of studies into TB treatments and outcomes over a 10-year period between January 1987 and May 1998.

The authors concluded that “people treated for TB have significantly increased mortality following treatment compared with the general population or matched controls. These findings support the need for further research to understand and address the biomedical and social factors that affect the long-term prognosis of this population.”

Also in the same edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases: ‘Healthy Survival After Tuberculosis’, Sumona Datta and Carlton Evans, both of Imperial College London and University of Lima, and both members of the Stellenbosch Post-TB Symposium steering committee, offer an initial exploration of and commentary on the implications of this research.

The working group for post-TB chronic respiratory disorders is made up of Union members in the Adult and Child Lung Health Scientific Section. The Union’s working groups offer members with common professional interest the opportunity to collaborate on projects, conduct research and organise joint activities.

“Many of the Stellenbosch steering committee are also members of The Union’s working group, and this symposium will form a part of, and link with, the activities of the working group”, added Dr Mortimer.

Social media users can find information about and comment from the conference on Twitter by searching for content hashtagged #PTBS2019 and #lifeafterTB.

Conference organisers say they are now looking forward to progressing the post-TB lung health agenda, and to this end, would value the sharing of experiences, comment, opinions and information on life after TB from all sections of the TB community, and especially from TB survivors, on social media. All relevant tweets and posts should be hashtagged #lifeafterTB.

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