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CDC: Woman With Rare Form Of TB Visited Middle Tennessee

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Posted at 10:00 PM, Jun 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:22:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The search continues to identify anyone who may have been exposed to a patient with a rare form of tuberculosis.

The woman, who apparently visited Middle Tennessee, has an extremely drug-resistant form of the disease, known as XDR-TB, which is impervious to most TB drugs.

Three to four cases are reported each year in the United States, on average.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the patient traveled from India to the U.S. through Chicago back in April.

Prior to her diagnosis, she also spent time in Tennessee and Missouri.  The Tennessee Department of Health is not releasing which cities she visited, but said she traveled by car.

She is now being cared for at a National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where she is in stable condition. The CDC did not release any additional details.

The CDC and Tennessee Department of Health are assisting with the investigation.  Health Department officials said they have already reached out to people they believe may have come into contact with the woman.

"We have a very good TB control program in Tennessee," said Dr. Tim Jones, state Epidemiologist at the Tennessee Department of Health.  "We are aggressive about going out and finding anyone who was close to a case.  Even though this is unusual, this isn't something for the public to be concerned about."

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing.  It is not spread through casual contact. It usually affects the lungs and can lead to symptoms such as chest pain and coughing up blood.

Tennessee saw 151 cases of TB in 2014, but Dr. Jones said the state has never seen a case involving the rare strain.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)