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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

TEXAS: Dallas Area's Second Active Tuberculosis Case Confirmed


Dallas Morning News (10.08.11) - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On Friday, state health officials confirmed a second active TB case linked to Ennis High School. The state announced the first EHS case on Aug. 19; officials of the Ennis Independent School District said the index case was a teacher.

"We're not providing any demographic information in order to protect the [new] patient's confidentiality," said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Of 1,577 TB skin tests analyzed as of Friday, 221 people had positive tests, most of which are considered latent infections, meaning the people are not expected ever to get sick. Nearly 10 people testing positive for TB also showed signs of active disease.

"A positive skin test means the bacteria is in the body, but does not mean the person has TB disease and is contagious," Van Deusen said.

Several Ennis parents voiced frustration that their children are being treated for active TB even though these cases are not yet counted as confirmed by the state. Officials said confirmation could take several weeks.

"The bacteria must be cultured and grown in a dish," said Dr. James Zoretic, regional medical director in the state health department's Arlington office. "It can take six weeks to get a negative culture, and two to four weeks before you see a positive culture." Most patients showing signs of active TB are receiving treatment at home or at a hospital as they await final diagnosis.


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