Hormel Foods worker has TBPublished 10:03am Wednesday, September 19, 2012
AUSTIN — The Mower County Public Health Department has notified Hormel Foods Corp. plant that a person working there has been treated for active tuberculosis.
The department identified other employees to be screened, and those screenings are now taking place, according to a statement from Hormel. No additional cases of tuberculosis have been identified, and Ruth Lumley, who works in tuberculosis prevention and control for the county, said the disease wasn’t likely to affect too many others.
“For most people it doesn’t cause any problems,” she said. “A lot of people could have the germ in their body and not even know it.” About 10 percent of the people who contract the tuberculosis germ end up seeing it become active tuberculosis, she added, while the rest simply have a dormant case in their bodies.
Tuberculosis usually occurs in the lungs and can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Patients may cough, lose weight and generally feel unwell, depending how far the disease has progressed, Lumley said.
Hormel Foods indicated it would continue to follow the direction of the Public Health Department. The disease is a health issue and is not a risk to food safety.