CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - Health officials are working to contact at least 117 people they say may have been exposed to tuberculosis after a homeless man staying at several churches around Mecklenburg County tested positive for the disease.
The man was seen at Public Health’s TB Clinic on Tuesday, March 21 and it was determined to be infected, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Department
According to public health staff, the man participated in the Urban Ministry’s Room in the Inn program located in several Mecklenburg County churches during the months of December, January and February while he was symptomatic. Public Health staff worked with the Urban Ministry Center to identify 117 people who may have been exposed to this patient.
TB skin testing will occur for those individuals at Urban Ministry’s main location. Urban Ministry will be distributing letters to those individuals with information and instructions.
“We feel very confident that we have found everyone who may have come into contact with this individual over the course of several months this winter, but in an abundance of caution, we are making residents aware of this situation, the symptoms to look for, and how to report any suspect cases,” said Public Health Medical Director Stephen Keener.
According the CDC, TB is a highly infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease.
If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. You can only get TB from an infected individual by close contact with saliva or a wet cough. You cannot get TB from surfaces.
TB tests are available at the Beatties Ford Road Health Department at 2845 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte, NC 28216 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday by appointment 8 a.m.-11a.m. and 1p.m.- 4 p.m. and on Friday 8 a.m.-11a.m.
Please call the appointment line at 704-336-6500 to schedule an appointment.