Hundreds of patients possibly exposed to Tuberculosis

By: NewsCenter 16 Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Email

Lansing Health officials are working with area hospitals to figure out the health status of hundreds of patients after they could have been in contact with Tuberculosis. This after one healthcare worker was diagnosed with TB. The worker was in contact with about 560 patients.

The Michigan Department of Community Health released this statement saying:

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion (DHWP) have been collaboratively working with four Detroit healthcare facilities to determine the health status of patients and staff who have been identified as being in close contact with a healthcare worker recently diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) disease. The healthcare worker, who unknowingly was ill with TB at the time, worked in multiple hospitals in the Detroit area, and was in contact with about 560 patients that received dental care between Aug. 1, 2013 to Dec. 17, 2013.

The worker is currently receiving treatment and is not working at this time. Patients and staff that may have been exposed have already been notified and encouraged to obtain testing. Those who have not received a notification letter identifying them as someone who has been in close contact with the identified individual, but still have concerns, may contact the facilities directly. The likelihood of additional employees being infected is very low as they are required to have an annual TB test as part of the hospitals’ patient/employee safety measures.

TB is a treatable bacterial disease that can be serious and is spread through the air from one person to another. There are two forms of TB: TB infection, where people have the TB bacteria in their bodies but are not sick, and TB disease, where the bacteria multiply and cause people to become sick. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 9,945 new cases of TB disease in the United States, of which 149 cases were reported from Michigan.

Not everyone who is exposed to TB will be infected, and many people who have TB infection never develop TB disease. However, those who do develop disease can spread the bacteria to other people, and it is important to identify those who may be at risk so that they can receive treatment to prevent the disease from developing. There are two types of test for TB infection, a skin test or a blood test. Both tests are simple, will be administered by the respective hospital at no cost to the patient, and results are available within a few days.

The identified Detroit healthcare facilities and contact information for patients include:

Detroit Medical Center (888) 362-2500
Henry Ford Hospital (313) 874-7733
University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry (888) 362-250

MDCH will continue to work with all identified facilities in Michigan and will provide updates to this information as it becomes available. For questions and information about tuberculosis, please visitwww.michigan.gov/tb or www.cdc.gov/tb.


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