As many as 350 infants have most likely been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) at a hospital in California. It seems that a nurse, who is an employee of the hospital, is responsible for the exposure. That’s not all; according to a spokeswoman of the hospital, it appears that besides the infants, 368 parents and 308 other employees also got exposed.
The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, the hospital in question, said that it came to know that one of its employees was suspected to be suffering from active tuberculosis in mid-November. Immediately, that employee was placed on a leave. Here, it must be mentioned that the employee suspected to have TB used to work in the area of the hospital’s newborn nursery.
Stephen Harris, the head of the hospital’s pediatrics department, said that it’s true that there’s extremely low risk of infection, but tuberculosis in children might have severe consequences. He added that due to this reason the hospital has decided to carry out extensive testing and begin preventive treatments for all these infants as quickly as possible.
According to data put up by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, the United States had 9.421 fresh cases of tuberculosis.
For those who don’t know: TB spreads through the air when an individual with the infection spits, sneezes or coughs and an uninfected person ingests the germs. However, it’s possible that an individual gets infected by TB, but doesn’t fall ill.
TB treatment includes the use of antibiotics for an extended period of time. If not treated properly or if the patient fails to complete the recommended course of medicine, tuberculosis might turn fatal.
The spokesperson representing the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center said that the hospital is currently putting in its best efforts for reaching out to all mothers who were admitted to the hospital between mid-August and mid-November.
All the parents or mothers and employees who possibly got exposed will undergo screening and if required will receive treatment from the hospital.
Joy Alexiou, a spokeswoman of the hospital, informed that since the nurse was suspected to be suffering from TB, almost every other employee of the hospital has been screened. So far, not a single test has turned positive result.