Federal health officials are scrambling to notify hundreds of individuals who may have come into contact with a patient being treated at the National Institutes for Health for a difficult-to-treat form of tuberculosis.
The unidentified woman traveled in three different states before being treated, NBC News reported. She had previously traveled from India to the U.S. in April. XDR-TB is drug resistant and extremely dangerous.
"The patient was transferred to the NIH via special air and ground ambulances," the NIH said in a statement, according to NBC News.
[sharequote align="center"]"The patient was transferred to the NIH via special air and ground ambulances."[/sharequote]
"The patient is staying in an isolation room in the NIH Clinical Center specifically designed for handling patients with respiratory infections, including XDR-TB. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, is providing care and treatment for the patient in connection with an existing NIH clinical protocol for treating TB, including XDR forms. NIAID has treated other XDR-TB patients in the past under this protocol," the NIH added.
The Centers for Disease Control said the patient spent time in Missouri and Tennessee before being isolated in Chicago.
"Besides concerns about community contacts, the patient flew from India to the United States. CDC will obtain the passenger manifest for that flight from the airline and will begin a contact investigation. Although the risk of getting a contagious disease on an airplane is low, public health officers sometimes need to find and alert travelers who may have been exposed to an ill passenger," the CDC said in a statement, according to NBC News.
Only about one-in-three cases can be cured and the patient may face months of treatment, NBC News reported.
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