Tuberculosis Infection Spread to Some NGIC Employees

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

June 29, 2006

More than 100 National Ground Intelligence Center employees have been tested for a deadly infection after they were exposed to Tuberculosis.

A Maryland man infected with tuberculosis was working in Virginia on and off at the end of last year and early this year as an installation subcontractor. Not knowing he was infected, he spread the TB infection to 10 people he worked with in our area.

Health Department officials said just about anyone who was in close quarters with the infected man could now have Tuberculosis. Who did he come in contact with? Where did he sleep? Where did he eat? These are questions the health department is in the process of finding out.

"We went to look at who might have been exposed to this active case of Tuberculosis," said Dr. Susan McLeod, the District Health Director.

Health officials knew he worked with the National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville, so they tested 129 people that were exposed to the subcontractor for an extended period of time. The results showed 8.5% of those tested, did in fact test positive for TB infection.

"That's not an unusual number. It's within the range of what we would expect for most groups in our community," said Dr. McLeod.

Dr. McLeod said there is no cause for concern because it is not active TB. Those infected have latent Tuberculosis, which is the early onset of the infection and it can not be spread. Health officials said it is easily treated with nine months of antibiotics.

"At NGIC we feel that based on all the information that has been given us we've taken care of anybody who needs to be evaluated, tested and treated," said Dr. McLeod.

The health department said it doesn't end there. The man worked in several other federal facilities throughout Virginia and also infected a number of people in Maryland.

NGIC representatives don't want to speak on camera, but they do say that they believe there is no more threat of TB in their facility and they have no reason to be concerned.

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