WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Two cases of active TB reported among casino employees in Mississippi

Two cases of active tuberculosis have been reported at casinos in Tunica, Miss., according to the state's health department.

Health officials are working to identify any individuals who may have come into close contact with the infected employees, and both casinos have been cooperating with the health department.

"No individuals from the general public have been identified as close contacts, and we have absolutely no reason to believe there has been transmission to any of the casino patrons," Thomas Dobbs, an epidemiologist at the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), said. "In fact, because of ventilation systems in these facilities, a casino is one of the least likely locations for transmission through casual contact."

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread through breathing in microscopic droplets of an infected person who sneezes, coughs or speaks in close contact.

Some groups, including those with compromised immune systems, diabetics, smokers and those undergoing chemotherapy and immunosuppressive therapy, are more at risk for contracting the disease.

Last year, 65 cases of TB were reported in the state, though this year's rate of disease remains below the national average.