In All Facilities Letter (AFL) 19-28, the California Department of Public Health has announced a nationwide shortage of the tuberculin skin test antigen Aplisol, as well as new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for tuberculosis screening of health care personnel. The notice also reminds providers that an approved program flexibility is required if a facility deviates from tuberculosis screening requirements.
Because data indicate the risk of exposure for health care personnel to tuberculosis has dropped substantially, CDC’s screening recommendations have been updated from the 2005 version. The AFL contains a side-by-side comparison of the previous and newly issued guidelines, as well as an updated risk assessment.
CDC expects the Aplisol shortage to last between three and 10 months and offers three general approaches — detailed in the AFL — to mitigate a reduction in tuberculosis testing capability resulting from the expected shortage.