A man in Denton, Texas, who was found dead in an alleyway last week died of pulmonary tuberculosis, Fox News has confirmed.
Carol Ann Walker, a public information officer for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office, which handles cases in Denton County, told Fox News on Tuesday that Ngoc Le, 23, died of “necrotizing caseating fibrocavitary pulmonary lesions with bronchiectasis,” or pulmonary tuberculosis. An autopsy helped confirm the cause of death.
Le, of Vietnam, died on Oct. 2 after collapsing in an alleyway near his home. Shortly before his death, the man was reportedly seen “stumbling around” in the alley “with blood coming from his mouth," the Denton Record-Chronicle reported.
The condition is a “contagious, airborne infection that destroys body tissue," according to Healthline, which noted it primarily affects the lungs. It is not currently clear how or when Le may have contracted the illness, which is spread from person to person “through microscopic droplets released into the air,” according to Mayo Clinic. This occurs when a person with an “untreated, active” form of the infection coughs, sneezes, or spits, among other methods.
While Le had recently traveled to Vietnam, state health officials do not believe the traveling contributed to his death, according to the newspaper.
His roommates will be tested for tuberculosis, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported. State health officials told the outlet that his death is not indicative of a public health threat.
"Based on the autopsy findings, Denton County Public Health (DCPH) is treating this as an active case of TB [turberculosis]. DCPH routinely tests, diagnoses, treats and investigates TB Cases," Jennifer Rainey, a public information officer for Denton County Public Health, told Fox News in a statement.
In 2017, 1,127 of tuberculosis were reported in the state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. While the infection is treatable, tuberculosis remains a “major killer” because some strains are drug-resistant, according to the Mayo Clinic.