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New Cases of Tuberculosis in Grand Forks - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

New Cases of Tuberculosis in Grand Forks

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  We have new developments in that outbreak of tuberculosis in Grand Forks.

  Public Health Director, Don Shields says two more children have tested positive for T.B., bringing the total number of T.B. cases in Grand Forks to ten.  However, Shields says those 2 new cases are in the original family, where the outbreak started. He says those students were not in school.

  Officials say the potentially lethal lung disease can be very effectively treated with drugs.

  Public health officials say the outbreak of T.B. was started by a homeless family, who was traveling through the area and stayed with friends in Grand  Forks.

That homeless family is now hospitalized. And 2 children from the "friends" family, who were also infected, have been taken out of Phoenix Elementary school and are undergoing treatment.

  Public Health Director Don Shields says they have a handle on it.

Don Shields, GF Public Health: "We want to error on the side of safety and we want to stop the transmission. So, we're throwing a net out there that's larger than what needs to be, because we don't want to have anyone come up positive."

  Now, Shields says just to be safe, around 40 students and staff at Phoenix Elementary, who had any close contact with the infected students have been tested. He says they'll have test results later this week.

  Parents I spoke with say they're comfortable with the way everything is being handled.

Reporter: "Did you consider leaving your child at home?"

Parent: "No. I know I would have been notified if I had to worry about it."

Reporter: "Did you consider leaving your child home?"

Parent: "Never."

Parent: "It's good they're doing measures that prevent it."

  And medical experts say it's not likely cases of T.B. will spread any further.

Dr. James Hargreaves, Infectious Disease Officer: "It's possible to find a couple more children who convert. I'd be real concerned that they'd been playing over at the parent's house and not at school… is where they got it."

  So at this point, while officials say it appears the outbreak of TB  appears   under control, we'll know more when the latest batch of test results are returned on Thursday.

  Public Health Director, Don Shields says they've now also decided to test 25 more students and teachers at Phoenix elementary in Grand Forks on Wednesday. He says results from those tests will be back on Friday.

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