1. Silin, Muriel MPH
  2. Laraque, Fabienne MD, MPH
  3. Munsiff, Sonal S. MD
  4. Crossa, Aldo MS
  5. Harris, Tiffany G. PhD


Public health departments rely on the timely receipt of tuberculosis (TB) reports to promptly initiate patient management and contact investigations. In 2003, 43% of persons in New York City with confirmed or suspected TB were reported 4 or more days late. An intervention to increase the timeliness of TB reporting was initiated in 2004. A list of patients who were reported late and had a smear positive for acid-fast bacilli, a pathology finding consistent with TB, or who initiated 2 or more anti-TB medications was generated quarterly. Health care providers and laboratories were contacted to determine the reasons for reporting late and were educated on TB reporting requirements. To assess the effectiveness of the intervention, we evaluated the trend in delayed reports between 2003 and 2006, using the Jonckheere-Terpstra test for trend. The proportion of patients who were reported late decreased from 43% (942/2183) in 2003 to 20% (386/1930) in 2006 (Ptrend < .0001). There were improvements in reporting timeliness for all 3 reporting criteria included in the evaluation and all provider types (all Ptrend < .0001); however, private providers consistently had a higher proportion of delayed reporting (22% reported late in 2006). This relatively simple intervention was very effective in improving the timeliness of TB reporting and could be utilized for other reportable diseases where prompt reporting is critical.