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Kane loses CDC funds for TB, gains local grant

Updated: February 24, 2013 6:35AM

Health officials seem to have gotten a hand on the three-year-old tuberculosis outbreak at the Hesed House shelter in Aurora.

There were 33 cases of TB at Hesed House in the outbreak between 2009 and early 2012.

While the outbreak has not been completely halted, the number of cases is trending down.

Because the situation is improving, funding from the Centers for Disease Control to combat the outbreak has also dropped, leaving the county to find other ways to pay the bill, according to interim Health Department Director Barb Jeffers.

“We have to look at other funding streams,” she said Tuesday.

In 2011, the county received a $124,000 grant to battle the disease. In 2012, the CDC provided $194,000.

But because the outbreak was slowing, the county was notified last year that it would not receive any CDC funding for 2013.

There are still costs to the outbreak and patients needing to be treated.

The county health department has sought alternative means of funding, and on Tuesday the Kane County Board Public Health Committee accepted a grant from Cadence Health Systems for $50,000.

Some of the funding in the past has gone toward replacing an antiquated ventilation system at Hesed House, limiting the spread of the disease.

Jeffers said the cost of the disease is seen in terms wider than just the numbers of people infected.

“For every case that you find, you can expect two years of treatment,” she said.

Most of those infected come from a transient, homeless population, she noted. It’s difficult to monitor their medication, she said, and when they stop taking their medications and regress, recovery can take longer.

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