CDC seeking people who had contact with tuberculosis patient in Chicago, Missouri

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This illustration depicts a three-dimensional (3D) computer-generated image of a cluster of rod-shaped drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, the pathogen responsible for causing the disease tuberculosis (TB). The artistic recreation was based upon scanning electron micrographic imagery.

BETHESDA, Md. – Health authorities are working to identify anyone who may have been exposed to a patient with a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.

In April, the woman traveled from India to the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say she traveled through Chicago and also spent time in Missouri and Tennessee.

Seven weeks after arriving, she was diagnosed with the disease.

Officials say she has an extensively drug-resistant form of tuberculosis, which is relatively rare. According to the World Health Organization, it is resistant to at least four of the main anti-TB drugs.

The CDC is trying to find people who had close contact with the woman, including those who sat in the same row or near her on the flight.

“The likelihood that this person transmitted the illness is low, but this is a very serious illness so we can’t take any chances, and need to get the close contacts in for testing,” said Tom Skinner, a spokesperson at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “TB is a very serious illness and the XDRTB version is difficult to treat.”

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that can be spread through the air. The bacteria usually attack patients’ lungs, but can also hit the kidneys, spine and brain.

In many cases, tuberculosis can be fatal.

However, experts say there is no reason to panic if you were on the same flight as the patient.

It is important to follow-up with a doctor because it could take up to eight weeks to test positive for TB.

XDR-TB patients can be cured, but their odds are worse than patients with ordinary TB.

The patient in question is being treated and in stable condition at the National Institutes of Heath Clinical Center in Maryland, the CDC said.

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