Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Today's unpleasantness is brought to you by the letters T and B.

...and for a change, it's not the fault of my daughter, whose initials are T.B.

A friend-of-a-friend has been staying with us for a while, working outdoors and whatnot. He coughs a fair amount, but then, so do a lot of people around here, because of VOG (volcanic smog) or mold or whatever. So we don't think much of people coughing. 

But apparently his boss decided he was coughing a bit too much, and he went in for a tuberculosis skin test... which came back positive. And there was something they weren't quite sure about on his chest x-ray, too.

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean he has active, transmissible tuberculosis. It doesn't even mean this is anything recent. He's been to places like Guatemala where the rate of exposure/infection might be higher than in the totally-developed world, so he could have picked this up abroad.

Infection also doesn't necessarily mean communicable disease, because the bacteria reproduces so slowly - only something like 10% of people who are exposed/infected ever manage to develop active communicable disease over their lifetimes (except in immune-compromised populations, where it's something like 10% per year).

But it means he gets to go have more tests done. And it means we should probably get tested too. My daughter's mom probably has to get a test anyway because of work, and my daughter is apparently due for another one for school anyway too, so I'm the only one who gets an unexpected jab. (And no, I don't like those. q.v. syncope.)

He's going to start wearing a nose-and-mouth mask around the house for safety's sake, which is cool. I'm hoping that I don't have an active case and don't wind up having to take antibiotics for 6-9 months, since I've already got a yellow fever vaccine and a month of anti-malarial pills to look forward to this fall!

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