State to request funding for tuberculosis outbreak in Sheb. Co.

MADISON (WITI) -- To assist with efforts to contain a significant Tuberculosis outbreak in Sheboygan County, funding will be requested at a Joint Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 4th.

“Rapid diagnosis and effective treatment are the essential public health tools needed not only to save the lives of individuals with TB, but also to stop transmission of TB infection and disease within the Sheboygan community and beyond,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer.

“This urgent situation in Sheboygan County requires additional support in order to contain the outbreak and make sure individuals with active TB are successfully treated,” said Governor Scott Walker, “You can’t put a price on ensuring the safety of the public and this is one of those situations. I encourage the committee to approve the motion.”

The current outbreak in Sheboygan involves an unusually high number of TB cases at one time, including a confirmed multi-drug resistant TB case with several more being treated as MDR cases until additional test results are confirmed.

Medications for MDR TB are very expensive and must be given to individuals directly by healthcare staff daily to make sure the full treatment is completed.

Currently eight cases of active tuberculosis have been diagnosed within an extended family in Sheboygan, and several additional family members may also have TB disease. All those diagnosed with TB disease are in treatment and are isolated at their homes or in the hospital.

The appropriation will cover the medications required to treat the individuals with active TB and the additional healthcare staff needed to provide the medications personally on a daily basis in order to make sure treatment is fully completed. The appropriation will also ensure that these individuals have housing while they are in isolation, which means they are required to remain at home and are not able to leave the house to work.

Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and is transmitted through the air. Droplets containing the bacteria can become airborne when a person with TB disease coughs, talks, or sings. These droplets are inhaled by other people. Some of the people who inhale these droplets will become infected, and some of them may develop active disease.

Typically, transmission of TB bacteria is limited to family members and people with sustained close contact. To actually become infected with TB bacteria, close (within  six feet) and repeated or continuous contact (more than eight hours) with the person who has TB is usually needed.

For more information about TB, visit: