New tuberculosis cases diagnosed in Mohave County

KINGMAN - Two new active cases of tuberculosis have been diagnosed in Mohave County this year, adding to the one active case continuing from 2014.

The three active cases are being managed by the Mohave County Department of Public Health. The agency also has investigated eight suspect cases of TB this year, as well as identified 17 people with latent TB.

In 2014, the health department had the one active case, and it investigated 16 suspect cases and identified 28 people with latent TB.

No sources for the two new TB cases, such as overseas travel or close contact with others, have been identified yet, said Christine Bronston, public health nursing services manager for the department. Public health nurses visit the patients daily to check on them and make sure they take their medication, and contact investigations are done.

"Anytime you have infectious diseases, it's something to pay attention to," said Bronston. "Three active cases is not above the normal number, but when others come in contact, it can become a problem and spread. That's why we're here. It's important to identify infectious diseases as soon as possible and deal with them."

People with latent TB infection have TB germs in their bodies, but they are not sick because the germs are not active. They don't have symptoms, and they cannot spread the germs to others. However, they may develop TB in the future and are often prescribed medicine to prevent that possibility.

People with TB are sick from TB germs that are active, meaning the germs are multiplying and destroying tissue in their bodies. They usually have symptoms of TB and can spread germs to others. They are prescribed drugs that can treat their disease.

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by germs that are spread through the air between people when they cough, sneeze, speak or sing, noted the department. The germs can stay in the air for several hours, and people who breathe in these germs can become infected.

TB usually affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, kidneys or the spine, according to the department. Symptoms include a feeling of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs include coughing, chest pain and coughing up blood.

Medical providers are responsible for diagnosing TB, noted the department, and testing includes a review of the symptoms, skin testing and an examination of the lungs and other areas of the body for signs. Case management includes a nurse actually watching TB patients take their medication so their strain doesn't become resistant.