Florida university opens TB lab in Haiti

The University of Florida on Wednesday opened a state-of-the-art lab in Haiti to train researchers to better understand and fight tuberculosis.

The 1,500 square-feet (139 square-meters) facility will bring graduate students from outside Haiti to train Haitian technicians, who will then go on to work at the national laboratory, said Dr. Michael Lauzardo, division chief of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

There are only three other TB labs in Haiti and more are greatly needed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Haiti has the highest rate of TB in the hemisphere, and that nearly 40 percent of the people with TB go undiagnosed. The World Health Organization says that of every 100,000 in Haiti, people 296 of them have TB.

The UF lab was built for less than $150,000 and is housed in a compound west of the Port-au-Prince capital.

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