Chicago Daily Herald (03.28.12) - Monday, April 02, 2012
A combined local and federal response to a TB outbreak among
the homeless in Aurora is being recognized as a model
approach. Kane County's ongoing battle against TB was cited in
a new CDC report, which noted that homeless people are
especially susceptible to the disease.
While the local outbreak was first recognized in January 2010,
the index case at Hesed House, an overnight homeless shelter
in Aurora, traces back to April 2007. There were 25 confirmed
cases by July 2011, and by last fall the tally stood at 28; no
new diagnoses have been made since then, though a few
suspected cases are pending.
Every person diagnosed so far in the outbreak had been a guest
at the shelter, except for one individual who drank alcohol at
a local tavern with one of the infected individuals from
Hesed. All the patients, except for one child, were ages 19-
64. The non-health care costs of treating 24 of the patients
have reached $204,500; these expenses include quarantining and
"Of patients in this outbreak, 80 percent spent time at sites
other than the shelter during their infectious periods, and
attendance at certain bars had a nonstatistically significant
association with being a case-patient, suggesting transmission
was not limited to the shelter," said the CDC report.
"Therefore, outbreaks of TB among homeless populations can
pose a risk to entire communities."
Next month, county health officials plan to release their own
report on the outbreak.
The study, "Tuberculosis Outbreak Associated with a Homeless
Shelter - Kane County, Illinois, 2007-2011," was published in
CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2012;61(11):186-