Tracking Tuberculosis in Wichita Falls

Newschannel 6 is tracking tuberculosis in Wichita Falls. Last week we told you that a man staying at Faith Mission tested positive in preliminary results for TB. Since then 89 contacts have been identified; 74 have been tested; 35 of those results are in; and six had abnormal findings.

We learned that three had abnormal chest x-rays and will undergo further testing, as will the three that tested quantiferon positive in a blood test. That means that they have had some contact of TB in the past.

"We have to do further investigations to determine whether or not it's an active disease or whether it's inactive," said Lou Kreidler, Director of Health for the Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District.

Those individuals either came in contact with the man suspected of having TB at Faith Mission or during the his daily activities outside the mission. So how do officials contain it before it could potentially spread further? Isolation is taken when there's more evidence of the disease.

"We will not extend our contact investigation on those individuals until we determine whether or not they are a true suspect of TB," said Kreidler.

Tuberculosis is not uncommon in  Wichita Falls. Kreidler said there were six cases last year, but this time around it's much different.

"The thing that makes this difficult and unusual is that it is in the mission setting and so there's many individuals sharing a common living space."

Final Results on at least three of the six should come in by the end of the week. After that officials will then determine if testing needs to be done on persons they came in contact with and if they need to be isolated.

Kreidler reports the man who tested positive in a preliminary exam is under isolation at the hospital. Though final results for him won't come in until a few more days. The reason he is in isolation, and not the other six, is because all the findings from his assessments point to TB; whereas the other individuals are still up in the air.

The health district is still looking for 15 people who may have come in contact with the man. For more information on what Tuberculosis is and how to project yourself, click here.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.