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Patient with infectious TB prompts screenings at Overland Park Regional Medical Center

Updated: 2013-11-07T04:00:47Z

By ALAN BAVLEY

The Kansas City Star

Health authorities are offering screening tests to patients and staff members of Overland Park Regional Medical Center who may have been exposed to a hospital patient with infectious tuberculosis.

The patient’s condition was identified in early October after she had been released from Overland Park Regional, said Nancy Tausz, disease containment director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. The patient has been readmitted to the hospital and placed in isolation while being treated, Tausz said.

Tausz said people who may have been exposed to the patient began receiving notifications about a week ago. She would not say how many may be affected. The county health department is working with the hospital and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to test people who may have been exposed to the patient, Tausz said.

The state health department said the risk of infection is low and the tests are a standard precaution.

Tausz said the Johnson County health department currently has 16 active TB cases under investigation.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that usually attacks the lungs. The bacteria can be spread when someone with an active case of TB coughs, sneezes or even speaks, but it’s not easy to catch. Most people who become infected never develop the illness and can’t spread the bacteria to others.

To reach Alan Bavley, call 816-234-4858 or send email to abavley@kcstar.com.

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