Is tuberculosis contagious? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Is tuberculosis contagious?

At 5:00, WAFF 48 News Investigators told you there's been one confirmed case of tuberculosis at the Wayne Farms Poultry Plant in Decatur.

About 200 other workers were tested and 45 have come back positive, but does a positive skin test mean these people are contagious?

No, it only means these people were exposed to the disease at some time during their lifetime. It could have been years ago and it does not mean they have an active lung-infected case.

What it means for more testing and treatment in this investigators report.

Many folks were at the Tri-County Health Department early Tuesday morning asking questions and being counseled about tuberculosis.

Dr. Alex Penot said, "typically what we see in the community is a more latent tuberculosis, meaning they may have been exposed in the past and they cleared the infection. However there may be still some active bacteria in the lungs themselves."

Health officers advise those people get further testing.

Judy Smith said, " everybody who had a positive skin test will be offered a chest x-ray and will be offered a skin examination."

Th T-B Control Division of the state health department says ten percent of those people will progress to a more active T-B, so that's why they are counseled to take preventive therapy in order to prevent future cases.

"Take the antibiotic for about 6 months, you can get a vitamin deficiency, because of antibiotic, so we typically administer a b-6 vitamin with it," said Dr. Penot.

We tried to talk to a couple of folks who came in for some counseling after skin tests were positive for tuberculosis,  but no one spoke English.

Smith tells us a lot more people die from the flu than T-B.

 

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