Supervisors OK contract with doctor to treat tuberculosis
KINGMAN – There were 178 reported cases of tuberculosis in Arizona last year, but only two of those cases took place in Mohave County.
Still, those two cases cost local taxpayers $30,000 this fiscal year.
The Mohave County Department of Health intends to keep the numbers of cases low, with the help of contracted tuberculosis expert Dat D. Nguyen.
Nguyen has provided tuberculosis consultant services to the Mohave County Department of Public Health since 2009. On Monday, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved continuing those services into the next fiscal year. As the only responding physician to the county’s request for such medical professionals in recent years, he was enlisted as a “sole-source” contractor to the county.
As the county’s contracted tuberculosis consultant, Nguyen will receive patient referrals from the county, or emergency referrals for hospitalized patients. He will coordinate efforts by the health department to control the spread of tuberculosis and provide clinical evaluations for reported cases or suspected cases throughout the county, and develop treatment plans for each.
There are two kinds of tuberculosis treated by Mohave County health officials: Tuberculosis disease, and latent tuberculosis infections. It takes about nine months to render effective medical care to patients with latent infections, according to Mohave County Nursing Services Manager Lynn Valentine, and treatment is available for all patients, indigent or otherwise, through the county.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection of the lungs and mouth that is spread through coughing, sneezing or speaking. Anyone in the vicinity of a tuberculosis victim could be at risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and untreated cases can be fatal.
Symptoms of tuberculosis disease can include coughs that last three weeks or longer, chest pain, coughing blood, weakness or fatigue, loss of weight, loss of appetite, chills and fever.