Nebraska Health Officials Respond Quickly to Report of Tuberculosis

FREMONT – Health officials are acting quickly after a patient who tested positive for tuberculosis in Fremont passed away.

According to Three Rivers Public Health Department, the patient was first seen on October 29th at Fremont Health. After testing positive for tuberculosis the patient was transferred that day to an Omaha hospital. The patient died at the facility on Friday.

Terra Uhing, Executive Director of the department says they responded to the report quickly, and are investigating the incident and those who may have been exposed. She says they have already tested over thirty people, and have more tests scheduled.

“We are in the process of testing about 35 people. We have probably another 14-16 people in the works,” said Uhing. “The process is working well. This is what we do every single day in public health. We’re working behind the scenes to ensure that everybody is healthy and safe. And if there is a risk, we’re going to do our best to minimize that risk.”

With so many people, friends, and neighbors getting tested, Uhing claims it’s important to know there are two forms of tuberculosis. Latent tuberculosis is not contagious. Those who test positive for latent are often treated with antibiotics. She says testing positive for active tuberculosis is when a patient is contagious.

 

“There’s active tuberculosis and there’s latent. What I like to tell people is active is where you’re sick. You have the coughing and that type of thing,” said Uhing. “If you have any questions, or don’t know what to do, give us a call at the health department or reach out to your primary care physician. We’re all working together through this.”

 Uhing says the disease is not easily spread to others. It requires prolonged and constant close contact with a person with active tuberculosis. Symptoms of the disease include persistent cough that last at least three weeks, chest pain, and coughing blood.
Anyone with questions or concerns can call Three Rivers Public Health Department at (402) 727-5396.
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