TB Project Screens Migrant Workers in the Field and Tracks Them from State-to-State

Old Disease, New Challenge: Tuberculosis in the 1990s

The State of Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services established a system for tuberculosis (TB) testing, assessment and treatment services for its migrant farmworker population in Northeast Florida and attempted to set up the model in South Florida and to track TB treatment as farmworkers move north.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program, Old Disease, New Challenge: Tuberculosis in the 1990s.

Key Results:

  • Among active cases of TB, 93 percent of farmworkers in Northeast Florida completed therapy.
  • Among latent cases, 77 percent of traveling migrants in Northeast Florida completed therapy; and 86 percent of seasonal farmworkers remaining in North Florida completed therapy.
  • Trusting relationships developed between health department staff and the migrant community.
  • In the course of screening for and treating TB, many other health problems were identified in the migrant worker population.
  • The project as a whole demonstrated to staff the effectiveness of directly observed treatment (DOT) in increasing treatment completion rates for latent TB.
  • Outreach education efforts reached providers and migrant workers in Northeast Florida, South Florida and states to the north.
  • A network of communication with providers in northern states was in place by the time the grant closed.