Arkansas Residents Exposed To Rare Form Of Tuberculosis

LITTLE ROCK - Officials at the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health have confirmed that three persons in Arkansas were passengers on a flight with the Atlanta resident who has been diagnosed with Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis are undergoing evaluation for possible TB infection.  Health Division personnel are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to complete their evaluation.

Dr. Joe Bates, Deputy State Health Officer, commented on Mr. Speaker, who while infected with the drug resistant TB flew on an international flight possibly infecting all on board, saying "All the information to date indicates the patient, Mr. Speaker, who is hospitalized now at the National Jewish Medial Center in Denver, is minimally infectious for others. The Division of Health is currently evaluating those persons who are in Arkansas, and has recommended follow-up testing to make sure they have not been infected."

In an unrelated occurrence, DOH has identified another patient with active tuberculosis in Columbia County at Southern Arkansas University (SAU).  The patient is on appropriate treatment for TB and testing is underway for those the patient came in contact with while infected.

More On Tuberculosis

A skin test is done to determine if the person is carrying the Tuberculosis germ.  Testing positive for the germ only indicates a latent infection and the person is not contagious.  Only about ten percent of people who have latent tuberculosis infection will ever develop active TB.  However, if they are treated with medication during the period of latent infection the risk of developing active tuberculosis can be reduced to near zero.