TAMPA — Public health officials will be at MacDill Air Force Base today to test people who may have been exposed to an employee with a presumed case of tuberculosis.
The case was reported to the Hillsborough County Health Department July 12; it is not thought to be the strain implicated in a recent cluster near Jacksonville, but test results are pending.
The MacDill employee has started TB drug therapy, is recovering in isolation, and no longer poses a health risk to others, according to the Health Department. About 50 co-workers and community members who were at risk of exposure have been notified about the upcoming testing; results are expected by Friday.
"An investigation of the individual's household, place of work, and other close contacts is ongoing," said Charman Benemon, a public health nurse with the Health Department. "We are working closely with public health officials at MacDill to ensure the health and safety of all their employees and community members."
TB is spread when an infected person coughs, talks, sings, or sneezes untreated TB germs into the air, where they can be inhaled by others. However, it usually takes very close, prolonged contact to contract the disease. There is no vaccine against the most common form of the disease. Last year Hillsborough reported 46 cases, a decline from previous years.