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Fewer Babies, More Staff Need to be Tested in TB Scare

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sacramento and Solano County Investigators believe there are fewer babies than were first feared exposed to tuberculosis in two hospitals.   But, the hospitals are now testing more of their employees.   

Eleven babies in Sacramento and 14 in Solano County are among those at risk because they were in their respective hospitals at the same time as an infected Solano County resident.   Investigators previously feared as many as 35 babies were exposed.  The babies and their families are being tested. 

Solano County's Chief Medical Officer is Michael Stacey.  He says the tuberculosis in the infected resident has already been tested and the strain is treatable.

STACEY:  "There is no evidence that there are any mutations in the DNA of the TB that would cause resistance to the medications that we use."

In Sacramento, 50 Sutter Medical Center employees have been informed they will need to be tested.  North Bay Medical Center in Fairfield has not said how many of its employees are at risk. 

Dr. Olivia Kasirye is the Sacramento County Public Health Officer.  She says friends of friends who were in the hospital during the times of exposure needn't worry.

KASIRYE: "Even if somebody did get infected, latent TB infection is not contagious.  They do not have symptoms.  They can not pass the germ onto another person."

But, Kasirye says everyone at risk needs to be tested.  As many as one in four people who have a latent infection develop the disease. Tuberculosis can be fatal if untreated.

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