1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 1/13/2012 2:20:35 PM ET 2012-01-13T19:20:35

A Fort Wayne student whose tuberculosis diagnosis prompted the testing of nearly 150 classmates for the illness has a drug-resistant strain of the disease, health officials say.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Matt Lauer in drag, Hoda as Yoda: 20 years of Halloween on TODAY

      No one does Halloween like TODAY. Relive two decades of awesome on the plaza as we rev up for 2014’s plaza bonanza.

    2. Toddler rescued after being caught inside claw toy machine
    3. Text and marriage: Wife charts 6-year relationship via text
    4. Watch IKEA pay homage to 'The Shining' in spooky Halloween promo
    5. What's it like for Kate Snow to cover Ebola? 'There is no normal'

The Journal Gazette reports that testing shows that the student's tuberculosis is a virulent strain that doesn't respond to the most powerful first-line drugs used to treat the illness. It is the first known case of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Allen County, Health Department spokesman John Silcox said.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, and can lead to symptoms such as chest pain and coughing up blood.

Multidrug-resistant TB does not respond to the common drugs used to treat the disease and must be treated with a second line of drugs, said Dr. Deborah McMahon, the Allen County health commissioner. If that doesn't work, a third line of drugs is needed, until something works.

"The farther you go, the less effective the treatment," McMahon said.

A person with a regular case of TB is treated with four drugs over six months; a person with multidrug-resistant TB must be treated with six medications including shots for two years, McMahon said. The person also must have the infected part of his or her lungs surgically removed, she said.

The student is in isolation and undergoing treatment and no one else associated with the person has been identified with active TB, Silcox said. A second round of TB skin testing is required in eight to 10 weeks to rule out TB infection, so it will likely be a few months before health officials know whether anyone else was infected.

Parents of students who might be affected were contacted by phone and a letter was sent home to families to explain the situation and provide additional information.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Katy Winn / AP file

    'For poppo': Robin Williams' daughter shows off tattoo tribute to dad

    10/23/2014 3:35:01 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T15:35:01
  1. Reports: ‘I am mad at our son,' says Ottawa shooter’s mom

    The mother of the Ottawa parliament attack gunman said Thursday she was crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son, according to The Associated Press.

    10/23/2014 3:51:20 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T15:51:20
  1. Funny or Die

    Watch Brad Pitt take Zach Galifianakis' insults on 'Between Two Ferns'

    10/23/2014 3:48:58 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T15:48:58
  1. Casey Barber

    These 5-ingredient chicken enchiladas are so easy (and cheesy!)

    10/23/2014 2:14:42 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T14:14:42
  1. Rumble Viral / YouTube

    Tears of joy! Kids lose it as lost cat comes home again

    10/23/2014 3:57:25 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T15:57:25