McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) reports that on April 4 an individual from India, infected with an extensively drug-resistant form of Tuberculosis, also known as XDR-TB, entered the United States and then traveled to other states. On May 18, this individual visited family in McHenry County and, during this visit, sought treatment. The patient has since been transferred out of state for care. Individuals who were in close contact with the patient have been interviewed and are being monitored.
Tuberculosis is not easily transmissible and XDR-TB, in particular, is also rare. XDR-TB is a form of TB which is resistant to many of the most powerful anti-TB drugs. According to the World Health Organization, developing XDR-TB is usually a sign of an active TB patient receiving inadequate clinical care or when a patient doesn’t receive the proper information, counseling and material support to complete their full course of treatment.
Tuberculosis is spread through the air by an infected person when coughing and sneezing. People who are nearby may breathe in the TB bacteria and become infected. TB is not spread by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing.
This is the first time MCDH has identified a case of XDR-TB in the County. MCDH works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health and local public health partners through its surveillance system to identify and monitor reportable infectious diseases in McHenry County.
In 2014, five active cases of TB (not XDR-TB) and 57 people with latent, non-infectious TB were treated. MCDH’s Tuberculosis Clinic, located in Woodstock, provides chest x-rays, diagnostic studies, laboratory services and medication to any McHenry County resident in addition to outreach to those populations at high risk for developing TB. If you think you have been exposed to someone with TB, contact your health care provider or MCDH to see if you should be tested. For more information on TB, call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500.