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Tuberculosis case reported at Rescue Mission; volunteers warned

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A case of tuberculosis has been reported at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission which has prompted the shelter to offer free tests to volunteers from the last year who might have been exposed to the potentially fatal disease.

The Rescue Mission recently sent a notice to volunteers that said they were "potentially exposed to someone with tuberculosis (TB) while volunteering at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission over the past year." The notice said the shelter was working with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, which assured "your risk is very low."

Still, the shelter said it was offering free tests for volunteers because "it is important to err on the side of extreme caution."

No details about the tuberculosis case were released.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease typically found in the lungs, spread through the area from coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include weakness, weight loss, chills, fever and night sweats. TB disease can be fatal is not treated properly.

It's not clear just how many Rescue Mission volunteers could have been exposed to the disease. It's also unknown if other shelter residents were exposed.

NewsChannel 15 reached out to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health. Spokesman Dave Fiess said the case was an isolated incident and if volunteers are worried they should call (260) 449-4838 to make arraingments to be tested. Fiess would not agree to an interview.

Rescue Mission CEO Donovan Coley also denied an interview with a blunt response: "'This was an isolated incident with very limited possibility for exposure. We are not going to comment. We are leaving it to the experts."

NewsChannel 15 has also called the Indiana Department of Health. A spokeswoman there confirmed all TB cases have to be reported to the state. Fiess also confirmed that and said they can reach out to the state department of health for assistance but have not done so.


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