Tuberculosis Case Prompts Testing In McAlester

A case of tuberculosis has state health officials urging some parents in McAlester to have their children tested.

Skin tests are set to be administered Tuesday at the Pittsburg County Health Department.

Tthe exposure took place at William Gay Early Childhood Center. Parents of children who may be at risk have bee notified to get them tested.

"I'm a little worried, yes," said Dwayne Rippee. His 6 yea- old daughter is not the list, but he came to the meeting anyway to learn about tuberculosis.

"I didn't think we'd ever have to worry about that in the United States or Oklahoma for that matter," he said.

Worldwide roughly 2 billion people are infected, although stateside it's relatively uncommon.

"We only had 70 cases of TB in the state last year," said Dr. Charles Harvey with the Oklahoma Health Department. So far, this particular case has not showed signs of spreading.

"Preliminary investigation of the household shows no evidence of transmission at this point, which is a good sign," he said.

Officials have declined to to say whether it was a child or an adult with TB. As for how many people they expect to test?

"Right now they're looking at maybe 50 to 75," said the doctor.

If someone does comes back positive the treatment is lengthy.

"Six to nine months of four drugs initially for the first two months and then it's two additional drugs for an additional four to seven months if the organism is susceptible to our first line TB drugs," he said.

Symptoms include coughing, weight loss, and fever, and even if Dwayne's daughter doesn't' show any of those signs...

"I think we're going to go ahead and take her to the doctor and have her tested anyway. I'd rather be safe than sorry," he said.

If you have any questions, call the Pittsburg County Health Department at 918-423-1267