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McHenry County reports case of rare drug-resistant tuberculosis

McHenry County reported its first-ever case of a rare form of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, the county Department of Health announced Friday.

An infected individual who came into the U.S. in April from India sought treatment while visiting family in McHenry County on May 18. The unidentified patient has since been transferred out of state for care, and people who were in close contact have been interviewed and are being monitored.

The general public is in no danger, health department spokeswoman Debra Quackenbush said.

The drug-resistant strain, known as XDR-TB, is rare and not easily transmissible. Contracting it usually is a sign of an active TB patient receiving inadequate clinical care or not completing the full course of treatment, according to the World Health Organization.

Five active TB cases and 57 people with latent, non-infectious TB were treated last year in McHenry County. The disease is spread through coughing and sneezing, and is contracted by inhaling it – it is not spread by close contact.

For more information, call the health department's communicable disease program at 815-334-4500.

- Kevin P. Craver

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