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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Politics can actually make you sick

Does anybody know the name of a good doctor?

I, along with dozens of other people in Government Plaza, may have been exposed to tuberculosis on Monday during the Shreveport City Council's regular work session. And I'm a little worried.

I'm only sort of half-joking here.

Near the end of the meeting, City Councilman Joe Shyne brought up a resident from his district who claimed that he had contracted TB when he roomed with an infected inmate at the City Jail. I won't do this poor man the injustice of repeating his name here but he seemed, well, out of sorts. The man was barely coherent but one thing seemed clear, if you believed his story: he had an active case of TB.

Most of us left the meeting thinking nothing of it but Councilwoman Joyce Bowman, who works as a staffing coordinator and nursing administrator at the Promise Specialty Hospital, sounded the alarm the next day.

At the council meeting Tuesday, Bowman handed out a small packet of information about TB and how the disease is spread. She even called later to remind me that I was especially at risk since I normally sit on the front row of the council chambers - only feet away from speakers at the podium.

I'm not sure how many folks will be going to get tested - I've heard of a few - but I'll probably seek some sort of treatment Thursday.

Shyne, ever the jokester, said he wasn't worried: "I come in contact with so many folks, I don't know what I got."

Neither do I. But I'll find out soon enough.