TB Clinic reports no new cases in 2013 Reduction in skin testing clinics

By Charlene Hoeflich

March 10, 2014

POMEROY — There were no active cases of tuberculosis in Meigs County in 2013, according to a report from registered nurse Nancy Broderick, who is director of the agency.

She noted that a private physician reported one evaluation of a patient for latent tuberculosis infection last year.

As explained by Broderick, tuberculosis is an airborne disease, but it can also infect other organs if it travels in the blood. Signs and symptoms of tuberculosis include weight loss, night sweats, productive cough with or without blood in it, fatigue and loss of appetite. Tuberculosis can almost always be treated and cured if medications are taken as directed by a physician, she said.

However, she noted the amount of skin testing done for infection is now limited because of a nationwide shortage of Tubersol, a solution used in skin testing. The shortage has been ongoing since last March, which means that fewer people have actually been tested for tuberculosis.

In view of the shortage, the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control has given recommendations on who receives skin tests during this period of solution shortage.

High-risk individuals who do receive the skin tests are those who have been exposed to active tuberculosis, travels to other countries with high areas of tuberculosis, or in a facility such as prison or homeless shelter, physician recommendation before starting certain medications, healthcare employees, and college students.

“Food handlers are not included in the list of those recommended for skin testing,” Broderick said.

When asked “for how long” she said, “not since the shortage has been going on.” She described it all as “a matter of supply and demand,” and said it’s difficult to get. While there is currently some easing, the agency has been able to get some and are now trying to get a stockpile started in before school and college registrations when students are required to have skin tests.

As to the regular TB testing clinics which used to be held around the county, they were discontinued because of the shortage. Broderick described those tests “as recommended, but not required.”

Services provided by the Meigs County Tuberculosis Clinic include skin testing, chest X-rays, certain lab tests, if needed, and medications for latent and active tuberculosis. Services are only provided to people who live and/or work in Meigs County.

The clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. No skin testing is performed on Thursdays. Any questions concerning the agency’s services can be directed to Broderick at 992-3722.

The levy-funded clinic is supervised by the Meigs County Commissioners and has a board of directors that represent each township of Meigs County.

Dr. Jeremy Parsons is the clinic physician. Board members include Gayann Clay, Kathy Cumings, Cindy Eblin, Kristi Finlaw, Jill Johnson, Barbara Lawrence, Mary Price, Chuck Riffle, Jackie Starcher, Jane Walton, Melanie Weese, Kathy White and Alice Wolfe.