Travel Medicine / Vaccination / Immunization Expert Forum
TB treatment 2 yrs ago, possiblere-infection?
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Questions in the Travel Medicine forum are answered by Dr. Philip D Parks, affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health. Topics covered include disease prevention, finding a doctor abroad, food and water safety, illness and injury abroad, mosquito and tick protection, resources for travelers, traveling with children or pets, traveling with special needs, vaccinations and immunizations.

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TB treatment 2 yrs ago, possiblere-infection?

Hello,

Back in 2010, I found out I had been exposed to Tuberculosis through a routine skin test required by my job (teacher). A couple of weeks later, I was contacted by the county health department and offered to begin a 6-month regimen of INH antibiotic. I began my INH course on 12/29/2010 and completed it on 06/02/2011 -- 6 months in total with a little card from the health department certifying my compliance.

My concern is that yesterday, I was coming home from vacation when a homeless-looking man (a smoker) coughed right in the direction of my friend and I. It was pretty disgusting, to say the least. It also got me worried that my friend and I may have been re-exposed to TB.

I don't know whether it makes a difference or not, but I am currently on a 160mg-800mg dose of generic Bactrim DS/Septra DS for a sinus infection.

My main question is should I worry about possible re-exposure to TB infection ?

If so, do I need to take another INH regimen?

I am 32 years old, f.y.i.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

It is always possible that you could be re-exposed to Tuberculosis.

Could you provide a bit more detail about the individual that you encountered?

1. How close were you to the man who coughed? (feet, inches?)
2. How long were you near him? Were you sitting next to him on a bus or  a airplane or did you walk past him?
3. Did you ever have a chest x-ray before or after your last course of INH? If so, what were the results?


~ Dr. Parks

This answer provided to you is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this Medhelp.org posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I also want to add that I'm on a corticosteroid  (beclomethasone 80mg, 1 puff, 2x daily) for asthma treatment, if that makes a difference?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Dr. Parks,

Thank You for your reply!

We were walking past him (outside) when he started coughing in our direction. He was probably a good 6 or 7 feet away but we saw the smoke cloud from the cigarette he was inhaling billow in front of us, which is why we're worried...

Never had a chest XRay after completing the INH treatment. The INH therapy was administered by the local county health department and they have a reputation for providing basic services, nothing more. Since the reply on here did not arrive right away, I took the initiative to call the county health department and notify them of what happened. I spoke directly to the nurse who administered my INH treatment. She told me not to worry too much and that the man probably just had a smoker's cough. I asked her specifically if I should be seen by them again and she said "no, you're okay."

In addition, I also called my Asthma specialist who I see on a regular basis and asked for her opinion on the matter. She told me that the INH therapy had long-lasting effects and that it was not something I should worry about.

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