Fayetteville VA patient tests positive for tuberculosis

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Fayetteville VA Medical Center says one of their veterans has tested positive for tuberculosis.

The VA told ABC11 they were notified on Wednesday that a patient at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center was diagnosed with the disease.

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The Fayetteville VA said that patient had also been seen at the Fayetteville VA's Mental Health Center from May to October.

So far, the Fayetteville VA has identified and notified 240 patients and 110 staff members who might have been around the veteran.

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ABC11 spoken with interim Fayetteville VA Director Dr. Carl Bazemore who specializes in pulmonary medicine. He said while it's relatively difficult and uncommon to contract tuberculosis in the U.S., they are following all necessary protocols including testing the local veteran community as a precaution.

"At this point the risk has been mitigated since he's no longer there. But what we are doing is sending out an informational letter to the veterans who have happened to been on the wards where this veteran was for the period of May to October to go to the county health department to take this letter with them so the county health department can do testing, " said Bazemore.

The veteran is still being treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. The Fayetteville VA will hold informational sessions for staff tomorrow.

Anyone who believes they might have symptoms of TB are encouraged to get tested either at the Fayetteville VA locations or at the county health department.

Tuberculosis a bacterial disease and is spread through the air. Symptoms include cough, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss and night sweats. People with weak or suppressed immune systems are mostly at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9,105 were diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2017.
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