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Tuberculosis case confirmed as Douglas County prepares to declare health emergency

Tuberculosis case confirmed as Douglas County prepares to declare health emergency


OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The Douglas County Health Department says a health emergency will be declared after a local case of tuberculosis was tied to a YMCA Childwatch.

DCHD said Thursday that one case of TB was confirmed and that officials are working to determine whether any of the 500 potential exposures resulted in additional cases. The health department said that parents were notified by email on Wednesday about a potential exposure at the Westview YMCA Childwatch, a short-term care service for children while their parents work out at the facility.

“An official declaration of a public health emergency is forthcoming, due to the potential risk to the population and risk for widespread illness,” a DCHD spokesman said in an email on Thursday.


The health department is also planning to host an informational meeting for parents at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Westview YMCA.

Those exposures would have occurred at the Westview YMCA daycare between late spring and late October, according to the release.

“The Douglas County Health Department is investigating the patient’s activities while they were contagious to learn of potential exposures, helping the patient isolate, and observing them complete their medication until they test negative for TB,” the release states. “DCHD also is working to notify parents of children and anyone else who had close contact with the patient. Testing for tuberculosis is only recommended for those who had close contact on one or more occasions.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, TB vaccines are not widely used in the U.S., but is generally given to infants and small children in countries where tuberculosis is common.

Douglas County Health Department’s news conference on tuberculosis case


Children’s Nebraska will offer testing clinics this weekend for children ages 4 and younger who may have been exposed to TB in the last 10 weeks. Additionally, DCHD will have clinics at the Westview YMCA on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday next week, Nov. 15-17, for children who may have been exposed between late May and Aug. 21.


The health deaprtment stressed that tuberculosis is treatable, and that cases are “relatively rare.”

“Close contact with TB means spending extended time on one or more occasions with a contagious person who spreads the germs by coughing. This includes being in the same room with them but does not include brief exposures in areas such as cafeterias, hallways, restrooms, or gymnasiums,” DCHD’s news release states.

DCHD is also familiar with how to treat TB, noting that the county had 15 confirmed cases in 2022 and 15 cases this year, through Sept. 30. The CDC has reported more than 8,000 cases in the U.S. this year.

Symptoms of TB include:

  • A cough lasting multiple weeks
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood or sputum
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • No appetite
  • Chills and fever
  • Night sweats




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