More than 700 Infants Exposed to TB in Texas Hospital

| by Lina Batarags

Public health officials have announced that an employee infected with tuberculosis exposed more than 700 infants to the disease at an El Paso hospital.

According to the city’s Department of Public Health, approximately 40 employees were also exposed to the disease at Providence Memorial Hospital.

On Thursday, letters were sent to the parents of the infants directing them to undergo screenings. According to KTSM, post-exposure screen and follow-up will be provided free of charge through the DPH and PMH.

The employee in question worked in the hospital’s nursery.

Officials have said that they were exposed over a period of time from September 2013 to August 2014; employment and medical records were reviewed to determine which infants and employees may have been exposed.

Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the health authority for El Paso County, said that hospital workers have been tested and that officials are waiting on results.

Tuberculosis can be spread when a person with active TB disease coughs or sneezes. As Ocaranza said, TB is treatable and the exposure does not amount to a public health threat. However, the CDC warns that if not treated properly, tuberculosis can be fatal.

The El Paso Department of Public Health has set up a website to provide updated information to the community.

Sources: CBS DFW, KTSM

Photo Sources: CBS DFW, Examiner