Health officials confirm close to 100 people exposed to TB in Cu - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Health officials confirm close to 100 people exposed to TB in Curry County

Amarillo, TX - Health officials are targeting a specific group of people in Clovis after nearly 100 of them were exposed to active tuberculosis. 

If you're living in Clovis, there's no need to worry, however officials are still seeking out certain individuals who they believe were exposed back in November.

Curry County health officials are actively testing numerous individuals for tuberculosis. If you've received a letter in the mail from the New Mexico Department of Health, you're urged to get tested. 

After a member of the Clovis community choir was diagnosed with active, infections TB, health officials began taking precautions.

"What we did is work with our local emergency management group and decided that this would be the best way to reach everybody in a quick time," Gayla Jaquess, Nurse Manager for the Curry County Health Office, said. "And so our process was to get our team together, which includes staff locally, staff from Roswell and of course our group from Santa Fe."

This team has set up pods throughout the north annex building of the Clovis Public Library.

"When people come in, we give them a clipboard and a paper that they can fill out form, then we send them to our registration here," Christine Amicone, Emergency Preparedness of SW Region DOH, said.

Patients will then be screened and interviewed to see who they've had contact with. A patient will then have their blood drawn and tested. 

After this process, patients with concerns can receive answers through the support staff. 

Although TB is airborne and possibly deadly, nurses want the public to know that you can only contract it from an active carrier.

"Casual exposures of like 15 or 20 minutes," Diana Fortune, the Tuberculosis Program Manager of the NM DOH, said. "Or just a few hours really isn't enough time to have spent with somebody to become infected. So we are looking at individuals like the household contacts of this individual have already been tested so then we are looking at other areas where they may have spent extended time period."

Fortune said TB outbreaks aren't very common and New Mexico only sees about 50 active cases each year.

Health officials said they are still trying to contact members of the Clovis Community Choir who sang in the Messiah concert on November 16.

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Original Release: 

CLOVIS, NM. - The New Mexico Department of Health has identified roughly 100 people in Curry County who may have been exposed to a man who tested positive for active, infectious tuberculosis (TB).

On Tuesday June 23rd and Wednesday, June 24th, the Department of Health will offer free screenings and evaluations to the individuals who were potentially exposed.

The Department has been contacting individuals who require testing.

The screenings and evaluations will take place at the Clovis Public Library North Annex, 701 N Main St. Testing hours Tuesday are from 9 to 3 p.m. Wednesday testing is available from 9 to 1 p.m.

Retta Ward, Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Health says typically, it takes hours of sharing airspace with an infected individual to become infected with tuberculosis.

The Health Department has been in contact with the individuals in Curry County with the most significant exposure to the TB patient.

Ward says the screenings and evaluations taking place at the library are only for the people who have been contacted by the Health Department. 

However, they understand people in the community may have questions and concerns. So the department is asking them to call 1-505-827-0006.

Tuberculosis is treatable and curable once the individual is given the correct antibiotics and the transmission risk subsides once this happens.

Tuberculosis is an airborne disease caused by germs that are spread through the air from person to person when an infectious person coughs, talks, laughs or sings.

There are two TB-related conditions: active infectious TB disease and non-contagious TB infection. Active infectious TB disease is contagious and may be potentially transmitted to others.

The symptoms of active infectious TB disease include:

A cough that does not go away

Unexplained weight loss

Night sweats

Anorexia

Fever

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of active TB, please contact the New Mexico Department of Health at 505-827-2473/2471,or at 505-827-006. You can also contact your primary care doctor for an evaluation.

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