8 infants exposed to TB at Sacramento hospital
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Eight infants have been exposed to tuberculosis at a Sacramento hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, but health officials say it's not likely that they'll contract the disease.
Sacramento County Public Health Officer Olivia Kasirye said the babies are doing well and aren't exhibiting any symptoms, but will receive antibiotic treatment as a precautionary measure. Doctors will conduct follow up tests in six months to see if the children are infected.
Someone with an active case of tuberculosis was visiting the Methodist Hospital of Sacramento neonatal facility from Aug. 23 to Sept. 3, Kasirye said. The infants in the unit included babies born premature and with breathing problems. The visitor later felt ill and went to the Methodist Hospital emergency room where the TB test was positive. The person is isolated and receiving treatment.
Kasirye says the hospital is not at fault for the exposures because the person showed no signs of tuberculosis while visiting.
"There is no way they could have anticipated this," she said.
Kasirye says the infants were likely not infected because they were in a large room and the visitor was in early stages of the disease. All of the parents have been notified.
Many people exposed to tuberculosis never become infected or develop TB disease, which can cause bad coughs, chest pain and coughing up blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A similar incident happened in spring when an infected Solano County resident visited Sacramento's Sutter Memorial Hospital and NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield. Officials believed 26 babies were exposed to tuberculosis as a result.
"There is no indication that there is any connection," Kasirye said. "It's just a reminder that we still have TB in the community."
Tuberculosis is a serious, treatable and slow-growing bacterial lung disease that is transmitted through microscopic droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking or singing.
Sometimes the disease is drug resistant, but there's no evidence of that with this case, Kasirye said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)