Kivalina residents test positive for tuberculosis germ

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- State health officials said a recent tuberculosis flare-up in Kivalina is too small to cause alarm.

More than a dozen Kivalina residents tested positive for the tuberculosis bacteria and are taking antibiotics.

Louisa Castrodale with the state Division of Public Health would not say how many active cases have been identified, citing confidentiality concerns.

But Dr. Lisa Britton, medical director of Maniilaq Association and the itinerant doctor for Kivalina, said the great majority of cases were inactive. That means the disease can't be transmitted.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that travels through the air, causing flulike symptoms, coughing and sneezing. The disease, which can be fatal if untreated, can remain in the body for years without becoming active.

Those who test positive must take drugs for nine months to kill the bacteria.

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