McHenry County TB Nurse Honored

In  my article yesterday, I didn’t mention the tuberculosis nurse who did the heavy lifting when the woman from India was found to have drug resistant TB.

Here is a press release about the award she received in October:



Karen  Stephenson

Karen Stephenson

WOODSTOCK IL – The McHenry County Department of Health has the honor of announcing that Karen Stephenson, RN, is the recipient of the 2015 Tuberculosis Service Award, presented in Springfield in October by the Illinois Council on Tuberculosis at their annual conference.

Awarded annually, this achievement is given to an individual exemplifying a noteworthy service achievement in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB).

Karen received the award in recognition for quickly identifying a rare case of extremely drug resistant (XDR) TB in the County last spring. Along with other members of the Department’s Communicable Disease (CD) team,

Karen worked swiftly to ensure proper patient care precautions were in place and that the Illinois Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control were immediately notified.

According to Karen,

“I was just doing my job; this is what I’ve been trained to do.

“We all pitched in”

Susan Karras, Communicable Disease Coordinator for the Health Department and Karen’s supervisor, said,

“Karen is a very experienced TB nurse and we’re lucky to have her. Karen and the CD staff were on top of what needed to be done every step of the way.”

Tuberculosis is a reportable airborne bacterial disease, which, even though serious, is normally treatable with proper medication.

Although contagious, TB is difficult to transmit and can only be spread when someone with an active case is coughing or sneezing. Symptoms of TB can mimic other illnesses and include weight loss; night sweats; weakness and chronic coughing (which may or may not be tinged with blood).

“In McHenry County we typically see several cases of TB each year.

Although the number of cases in the United States is lower than in some other countries, the disease won’t be eradicated because of the mobile society in which we live,” said Michael Hill, Administrator for McHenry County Department of Health.

McHenry County Department of Health conducts TB testing for county residents when it is necessary for their job or if an individual has been exposed to the disease. For more information about TB, call 815-334-4500 or visit the Nursing – Communicable Disease section of the Health Department website (


McHenry County TB Nurse Honored — 4 Comments

  1. Outstanding performance, well deserved !

    Congratulations, RN Karen Stephenson !

  2. Thank you for your work, Karen Stephenson, you are a wonderful nurse.

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