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National News

Southwestern Oklahoma Has Unusually Large Tuberculosis Outbreak

March 25, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

A man sick with TB for eight months started an outbreak that has infected 100 people in three southwestern Oklahoma counties, health officials said Friday. About 30 of those who are infected likely have active cases of the disease, while others have skin infections, said Dr. Jon Tillinghast, TB control officer for the state Health Department. Health Department officials tested contacts of the man, who has since been cured. The man worked in a restaurant for three weeks while he was sick, but most of the 100 people infected were family members and friends, Tillinghast said.

All of the patients -- who live in Jackson, Tillman and Comanche counties -- are receiving medicine that should cure the disease and prevent it from becoming active. Health officials normally deal with about one TB outbreak each year in Oklahoma, but the number of people infected during the outbreak is usually fewer than 10. "This is more than what we usually see," Tillinghast said. "It's really just a matter of completing adequate therapy. It's treatable. It's curable. It's preventable."

The state Health Department and the three county health departments tested more than 600 people after the man who started the outbreak was diagnosed, Tillinghast said. The man moved to Oklahoma from another state to live with relatives, then stayed with family members in the three counties during a span of several months. Health officials said it is standard procedure to undertake a testing initiative after interviewing someone with TB. Officials have tested the majority of people who might have been exposed to the disease.


Back to other CDC news for March 25, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Associated Press
03.23.02; Jennifer L. Brown

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
Tuberculosis (TB) Fact Sheet
Questions and Answers About Tuberculosis
More on Tuberculosis and HIV in U.S. Southwest States

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