4 being treated for tuberculosis after coming into contact with Gregg County patient

Published: May. 29, 2015 at 2:24 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2017 at 11:49 PM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Four additional people are being treated for tuberculosis after coming in contact with a patient in Gregg County.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday that 60 other people are being screened for TB. Earlier in May, the department said it was investigating an active tuberculosis case in Gregg County.

"Many contacts who are currently being evaluated for TB will need to be re-evaluated in 8-10 weeks, depending on the last date of contact with the index case," said DSHS Press Officer Christine Mann.

Mann said that if a contact is diagnosed with active TB disease, they will begin treatment immediately. However, if a contact is diagnosed with latent TB infection, which is not infectious, they will be offered treatment depending on their medical history and other risk factors.

Mann said the index case, or the initial case, is being treated and that treatment could last from 6 months to a year. The length of treatment is depends on a physician and depends on multiple factors, including infectiousness of the index case.

People who have been diagnosed with active TB disease are placed on respiratory isolation. Mann said isolation usually lasts for the first two weeks of treatment. Once removed from isolation, they are no longer considered infectious and they can return to normal activities.

"Although TB is contagious, it is not easy to contract, like the flu or common cold, for example," Mann said. "People are more likely to contract TB from a family member or a friend in which they've had continued contact with, than by a complete stranger. TB is curable with specific antibiotics taken over several months."

On May 13, a Kilgore College representative said students had been encouraged to get tested as a precaution after a suspected case of tuberculosis on campus. Public and Sports Information Coordinator Chris Craddock said the college was notified by state health department and letters were sent to students who might have been in contact with that person.

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