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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
ILLINOIS: Kane TB Outbreak Gets National Attention
James Fuller
April 2, 2012
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 providing food.

"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- 189).