Six dead and 17 sick from major drug-resistant tuberculosis outbreak in Minnesota

Six dead and 17 sick from major drug-resistant tuberculosis outbreak in Minnesota

  • A tuberculosis outbreak in Minnesota has infected 17 people and killed six
  • Fourteen of those who contracted the disease are from the elderly Hmong community, indigenous to Asia 
  • This particular strain is more difficult to fight because it is multi-drug resistant
  • Minnesota is using $225,000 in emergency funds to limit the spread of the disease.

A tuberculosis outbreak in Minnesota is now the largest in the country infecting 17 people and killing six.

Fourteen of those who contracted the disease are from the elderly Hmong community, with 10 of those cases believed to have spread through shared activities at a senior center.

Of the six deaths, three have been a direct result of tuberculosis or TB.

Though TB is treatable with antibiotics, this particular strain is more difficult to fight because it is multi-drug resistant.

A tuberculosis outbreak in Ramsey Country, Minnesota, has infected 17 people and killed six

A tuberculosis outbreak in Ramsey Country, Minnesota, has infected 17 people and killed six

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‘When you have multi-drug resistant disease what that means is the organism that’s causing the TB is now resistant to at least two of the usual drugs that are used, so it’s not that you can’t treat it, but it’s going to take second-line drugs,’ Kris Ehresmann, Director for Infectious Disease told Fox9.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing concern in the US as it sickens more than two million Americans each year and causes about 23,000 deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Drug-resistant bacteria can come from overusing antibiotics, taking them when they aren’t necessary or eating meat treated with antibiotics.

WHAT IS TUBERCULOSIS (TB)?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs.

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.

Although your body may harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between Latent and Active TB

Symptoms of active TB include coughing up blood, weight loss, fatigue, and chest pain, and fever.

Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of your body, including your kidneys, spine or brain.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Tuberculosis spreads slowly. Unlike Minnesota’s measles outbreak earlier this year, transmission of tuberculosis requires repeated exposure with people who are infected.

According to Anne Barry, director of St Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, one of the Hmong community members had been sick and infectious for five years before being detected in 2016, sending public health officials scrambling to find everyone who is at risk.

Minnesota has a large Hmong population, an indigenous community from Asia. Ehresmann added: ‘It’s really important that they’re aware of the situation and attentive and monitoring what’s going on with elders.’

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that mainly affects lungs and is easily contracted as it is spread through the air when someone infected talks, sneezes or coughs.

Those diagnosed with latent TB, meaning you show no symptoms and can’t pass it on, are urged to take antibiotics to prevent the infection from becoming active.

Symptoms of active TB include coughing up blood, weight loss, fever, fatigue, and chest pain…..More Here

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