Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) (01.25.12) - Friday, January 27,
A multidrug-resistant TB case discovered last month in Allen
County will cost the state and county an estimated $250,000 in
medication alone, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Board of Health
was told on Monday. The MDR TB infection was found in a Fort
Wayne Community Schools student, who is now in isolation and
receiving treatment. Nearly 150 students potentially exposed
have been screened for TB, and no other active case has been
"The health department is in the process of evaluating the
results of the first round of testing and will repeat the
process in eight weeks," said Dr. Deborah McMahan, health
The treatment cost estimate is on the high side, noted John
Silcox, the Department of Health's spokesperson. It includes
$200,000 from the state for one year of treatment for the six
main medications. The county will pick up $50,000 for two
years' worth of additional medications.
"We attempt to tap into any available insurance or resources,
but with this case, neither is available," said Silcox. "It's
unfortunate because this happens to be a case where the
treatment is more expensive because of the nature of the TB."
Other costs are difficult to estimate, Silcox said. "Depending
on whether the patient becomes eligible for Medicaid and
whether any surgery is necessary, it will likely be a minimum
of $40,000 to $50,000 and a maximum of $50,000 to $115,000,"
"It's frustrating, because in some way, shape or form the
taxpayer bears a substantial burden in this case," said Joseph
Steensma, the board's chair. "If we had three such cases
instead of one, it would be our entire budget for the year."
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health's TB hotline