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Few active cases of tuberculosis in Boone County

Boone County has four active tuberculosis cases, including the University of Missouri student who was recently diagnosed with the chronic disease.

Two cases were diagnosed last year and two this year, though all of them are unrelated, said Jason Wilcox, a senior planner with the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services.

University of Missouri officials and the health department are investigating after a student was diagnosed with active tuberculosis. School officials made the diagnosis public this week, but have disclosed no details about the student or where the student lived, citing federal privacy laws.

“We are working with the student to build a close contacts list,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox said the contacts will be notified, tested for active TB and then tested a second time eight weeks later. The second test results will determine whether a broader investigation and contact list is necessary.

Tuberculosis, a respiratory disease caused by bacteria, is considered active when patients are showing symptoms. Health officials say TB can take months to treat and therefore active cases can continue into the new year.

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