Two MU Health Care workers test positive for latent TB

Friday, June 19, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — With 190 tuberculosis test results in hand, MU Health Care now knows that two workers are positive for latent TB, according to a news release from MU Health Care. 

The two cases were discovered after officials identified 290 people who might have been exposed to an MU Health Care worker who was diagnosed with active TB on June 4. Of those tested, results for 190 people are available; the test results for the other 100 people are pending.

No additional active cases of TB have been identified, the release said.

“With latent TB, tuberculosis bacteria can remain dormant in your body without making you sick,” Michael Cooperstock, medical director of infection control for University Hospital and Clinics, said in the release. “People with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread the disease to others.”

The two workers who have been diagnosed with latent TB have been counseled about treatment options and are being closely monitored, said Mary Jenkins, public relations manager for MU Health Care.

The worker with active TB was diagnosed after he sought treatment for a cough he attributed to allergies, according to previous Missourian reports. He has been removed from patient care duties and is receiving appropriate medical treatment, the release said.

The people who have been tested are from various facilities within the MU Health Care System. They also include social contacts, people who have had prolonged contact with the worker and people who have other risk factors, such as age and other illnesses, Jenkins said.

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