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Hannover's Franca has TB

HANNOVER, Germany -- Hannover midfielder Franca has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, just over a month after joining the German club from Brazilian side Coritiba.

The 21-year-old Franca, whose full name is Welington Wildy Muniz dos Santos, will miss several months while he is treated for the highly contagious bacterial infection, the Bundesliga club said Friday in a statement.

Efforts were being made to examine those who came into contact with Franca to ensure containment.

"The danger of an infection comes only with close contact," said Helga Heykes-Uden, the regional tuberculosis advisory agency chief. "Anyone close to an ill person for just a few minutes is very unlikely to be infected with tuberculosis bacteria. However, it can't be ruled out completely."

Heykes-Uden said the source of the outbreak is most likely not in Hannover and that "the disease becomes active four months after infection at the earliest."

Franca flew to Hannover from Brazil on Jan. 11.

Those infected with tuberculosis can only infect others after it becomes active. An infection leads to active tuberculosis in only about 10 percent of cases.

"I am so sorry for Franca," Hannover sports director Joerg Schmadtke said. "The most important thing now is that he becomes healthy again. We wish him all the best for his recovery and know that he is in the best hands."

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