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Health Department issues tuberculosis alert from Fort Wayne nail salon

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – Patrons of a southside nail salon are warned that they could have been exposed to tuberculosis.

The Allen County Health Department said anyone who visited Cali Nails, 208 E. Pettit Ave. from January to July of 2019 should err on the side of caution and get tested.

Exposure was limited and the risk to patrons is very low, but health officials are still strongly encouraging people who visited the salon during the first seven months of this year to take advantage of free testing offered.

“This is being done out of an abundance of caution, because I can’t say the risk is zero. So, again, this is very low risk, but again, people have to put risk in their own perspective,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan.

Patrons who visited the nail salon outside of the time period do not need to be tested.

Health officials said only one person is infectious and capable of spreading the disease so far, and that person is now in isolation and undergoing treatment.

That means there is no reason to believe that it is unsafe now to seek services at the salon in Southgate Plaza.

The owner has been fielding calls, reassuring nervous patrons.

“Yeah, everything is good right now. My hope is everything is passed, so there’s no hurt to the customer,” said owner Anna Le.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs, talks or sneezes. Symptoms of active TB include fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, chills and fevers.

Symptoms may also include cough, chest pain and coughing up blood if the disease is in the lungs.

Free TB testing will be held at the Specialty Services building directly behind the Allen County Medical Annex, 4813 New Haven Ave, on the following dates:

  • October 10 from 3-6 p.m.
  • October 16 from 9 a.m. to noon
  • October 21 from 1-4 p.m.

Anyone unable to be tested during those times can call (260) 449-7504 to schedule an appointment. Clients must indicate they were a contact to the Cali Nails investigation to receive free testing.

Only people with close, daily contact with an infected person are typically at risk of contracting the disease.

TB is not spread by kissing, shaking hands or touching objects and usually requires close contact over a period of time.

Most who become infected do not develop active TB because their body’s immune system protects them, and only people with active TB symptoms can spread the disease.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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