More than 500 people asked to test for tuberculosis after case at Nebraska day care

A Nebraska health department is investigating more than 500 possible exposures to tuberculosis linked to an active case at a YMCA in Omaha.

The infected person was part of the YMCA’s drop-in child care program, so those at risk of exposure are primarily young kids.

The Douglas County Health Department said anyone who had close contact with the infected person from May 30 through Oct. 30 should get tested for tuberculosis bacteria, which can spread through the air when someone with an active case coughs, sneezes or speaks.

Many people who become infected with the bacteria never develop symptomatic tuberculosis. Up to 13 million people in the U.S. have latent tuberculosis infections, meaning the bacteria is inactive and the infected person doesn’t have symptoms and isn’t contagious. Around 5% to 10% of infections, if left untreated, progress to active disease.

In adults, symptoms typically include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, chest pain, or coughing up blood or phlegm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children may have symptoms such as a cough, weakness, lethargy, weight loss, fever or night sweats.