Health | Local | News

Members Of Oregon Zoo Staff Test Positive For TB

OPB | July 26, 2013 9:09 p.m. | Portland

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A Multnomah County health official says members of the Oregon zoo staff, who have had contact with an elephant infected with tuberculosis, tested positive for the disease. 

Mike Keele helps scrub Chendra.

Mike Keele helps scrub Chendra.

Michael Clapp / OPB

Justin Denny is a doctor with the Multnomah County Health Department. He says “very, very few” staffers tested positive for TB. He says the staff members have a latent form of TB that’s highly treatable.

“So it’s curable. And so it’s good news that we have very very reassuring information. So two bits of good information, one is it’s treatable TB and the second thing is very very few people became positive as a result of the exposure,” Denny says.

Denny says zoo visitors are not at risk.  Only zoo staffers who had direct and prolonged contact with the elephant tested positive.

And while health officials assume staff members contracted the disease from Rama the elephant, Denny says there’s a chance that they may have picked it up in a different way.

 A spokesperson for the Oregon Zoo would neither confirm nor deny that members of the staff tested positive for the disease.

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