New Mexico Prepared To Respond To Tuberculosis Concern

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Tuberculosis

New Mexico Department of Health is prepared to keep New Mexicans safe if any individual in the state is affected by the U.S. resident who was diagnosed with extensively multidrug resistant tuberculosis after traveling between Europe and the United States.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health used its authority under the Public Health Act to quarantine an individual with multi-drug resistance tuberculosis who may pose a significant health risk to the public. The Department committed the patient to a secure treatment facility because the patient was actively infectious with a threatening communicable disease and had a history of missing treatment.

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"If a situation similar to that in Georgia were to occur in New Mexico, we have experience in using our State law to quarantine an individual who would represent a risk to the public's health," said Dr. Steve Jenison, medical director of the Department's Infectious Disease Bureau. "New Mexico has a low incidence of tuberculosis, and we are well prepared to handle any cases."

Multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis is resistant to the two main antibiotics used to treat TB, but it will respond to secondary drugs. Treatment is more complicated and longer.

Extensively drug resistant TB is resistant to multiple antibiotics used to treat TB, including both first line and second line agents. Treatment is very complex, often requiring the expertise of clinicians and hospitals with extensive experience in its treatment.

The Department of Health is currently managing 50 cases of active tuberculosis infection. Of those 50, 28 cases were identified as new cases in 2007. Of the 50 active tuberculosis cases currently under management, there are two confirmed cases and one probable case of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

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