An outbreak of tuberculosis has surfaced in Minnesota, and medical officials are concerned. Normally, the disease is treated with antibiotics. But this new strain is resistant to multiple drugs, making it difficult to control.
According to Fox News affiliate, Fox 9, Tuberculosis is treatable with antibiotics, but the multi-drug resistant strain has been more difficult to fight.
This strain directly caused three deaths.
“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,” said Kris Ehresmann, Director for Infectious Disease, MN Department of Health.
The disease is difficult to catch but easily spreads with repeated exposure when someone with infected lungs talks, sneezes, cough, or sings.
Cost is becoming a concern as well because TB is expensive to fight.
The drugs which are effective against this multi-drug-resistant strain are much harsher on the body.
They come with more side effects and treating this specific tuberculosis strain requires more time and money.
A normal case of tuberculosis costs about $17,000 to fight, but when fighting multi-drug resistant disease, it jumps to $134,000.
“We have a large Hmong community in Minnesota, so I think it’s really important that they’re aware of the situation and attentive and monitoring what’s going on with elders,” said Ehresmann.
So far this year, there have been about 160 cases sparking fears that this outbreak could not only worsen but kill many before it has run its course.
“We’ve put a lot of resources into responding to this situation,” said.
Ehresmann says the outbreak has mostly affected people in the elderly Hmong community.
Of those impacted, 14 people are from within the Hmong community.
- 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.
'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.
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.
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.
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