More than 1,000 persons in California, including 350 babies, may have been bareto tuberculosis (TB) at a hospital between August and November. A nurse working nearthe newborn nursery of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in San Jose wasplaced on leave in mid-November, when the possibly deadly lung disease was firstsupposed. The analysis was later confirmed.
“While the danger of infection is low, the penalties of a tuberculosis infectionin newborns can be severe,” said Stephen Harris, MD, chair of pediatrics for SantaClara Valley Medical Center, in a declaration. The risk is less, according to the hospital,because the nurse did not show symptoms. Although the nurse had been separated fortuberculosis in September and came up bad. It wasn’t till she got an X-ray from her owndoctor for an unrelated disorder that she was identified.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial contagion that generally infects the lungs, but can spread toother parts of the body. “TB in other parts of the body can mimic other infections, whichcan make it harder to catch,” says emergency room doctor Darria Long Gillespie, MD ,Sharecare’s senior vice president of clinical policy.TB can be lively or latent. Active TB signs include a cough that lasts three weeks orlonger, chest pain, coughing up blood, weakness, weight loss, chills and fever. Babiesand young children are especially vulnerable because their resistant systems can’t fightthe infection as well as adults’ immune systems. TB is an airborne infection, spreadthrough coughing, sneezing and spit. It’s preserved with a mixture of antibiotics.
“Treatment for tuberculosis tends to be a long-term and often multidrug routine,” saysDr. Long GillespieTuberculosis without signs or sickness – as was the case with the nurse -- is calledlatent tuberculosis, and is generally treated with antibiotics to stop TB from developing.SCVMC is working with its county’s health division and contacting anyone who waspossibly bare to have them screened and, if essential, treated, including giving chest X-rays and preemptive medicine to the potentially bare babies.
The hospital’s course of action cleaves carefully to Long Gillespie’s reference. “Thesuitable thing to do is work with the state section or other government organizations tomake sure everyone who could be bare is being contacted and having appropriatemeasures taken to prevent them from getting sick and exposing others,” she says.
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