Minnesota tracking TB outbreak

Health officials in Minnesota are reportedly tracking a tuberculosis outbreak with seven confirmed cases and a possible eighth across three counties, ABC affiliate KSTP reported Aug. 9.

Cases have so far primarily affected the Anywaa community made up of individuals who are immigrants from South Sudan and Ethiopia. 

TB cases are typically detected before refugees arrive in the U.S., but there can be barriers to receiving testing, the outlet reported. 

"Most of the problem really is the language and not familiar with the help, like where to get health insurance cards, and also where to get services," Apee Ochudho, the executive director of nonprofit Anywaa Community told KSTP. "We will reach out to all of the members of our community, so that to make sure this does not continue to be a problem."

The seven cases are split between Washington and Stearns counties, with three confirmed cases in children. 

Becker's reached out to the Minnesota Department of Health to confirm these details and recieved the following statement from a spokesperson: "Because all of the cases occurred among people who knew each other and there is a very low risk to the general public. Health professionals routinely see outbreaks like this in homes and communities throughout the U.S. and around the world…Local public health has been doing direct outreach to the most at-risk folks and to the providers in their area. This approach works and has been effective in the past to prevent the spread of TB in Minnesota."

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