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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2009

Health Department investigating local tuberculosis case

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department is conducting a contact investigation of a tuberculosis case in a student at East High School. Disease investigators are scheduling TB skin-tests for those who may have been exposed and are actively investigating to determine if other TB cases may arise from this exposure.

The Kansas City, Mo., School District is cooperating with the Health Department in the investigation by sending an informational letter home with the students of that school today. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is also working with the Health Department on this investigation.

Symptoms of TB disease may include coughing, night sweats or unexpected weight loss. Someone with TB disease may spit up blood. If TB is suspected, a chest X-ray should be done, and the person should be isolated. If someone is infected but has not yet developed the disease, there are no symptoms. It is important to comply with the investigation, including all follow-up visits when scheduled, as untreated TB infection can develop into active TB disease.

TB is only spread through close contact with someone who has active TB disease. When someone with active TB disease coughs, sneezes, sings or talks and another person nearby breathes in the bacteria over an extended period in close quarters with little ventilation, that other person is at risk of being infected with TB. TB is not spread by dishes, drinking glasses, sheets, clothing, or by touching someone with the disease.

Any confirmed or suspected TB case should be immediately reported to the Health Department so that a treatment plan can be decided upon and potentially exposed people located and examined. These reports can be faxed to (816) 513-6316 or phoned to (816) 513-6152.

For more information on TB, visit the Health Department Web site, www.kcmo.org/health.

Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).

    
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