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Investigation continues for extensively drug-resistant Tuberculosis

6/10/2015, 9:59 a.m.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to work with local health departments in northern Illinois and the Centers ...

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to work with local health departments in northern Illinois and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify individuals in Illinois who may have recently been exposed to a person diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB). This person is now a patient at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Maryland. The patient traveled in April from India to the United States through Chicago O’Hare airport.

“We continue to work with our local, state, and federal public health partners to conduct contact tracing to identify individuals who may have had contact with this patient and determine if they should be tested for TB infection,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Anyone who has recently been in close contact with someone who is sick and exhibiting signs of TB should contact their doctor or local health department.”

XDR TB is a rare type of tuberculosis that is resistant to first line and at least one second-line drug treatments. TB and XDR TB are spread the same way. When a person with TB coughs, sneezes, shouts, or sings, the bacteria becomes airborne. Anyone who breathes the air containing these TB bacteria can become infected.

General symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs may also include coughing, chest pain, and coughing up blood. If you have these symptoms and have been in close contact with someone who is ill with TB disease, contact your doctor or local health department.

To reduce the risk of becoming infected, avoid close contact for a prolonged period of time with known TB patients in crowded, enclosed environments like clinics, hospitals, prisons, or homeless shelters.