Tuberculosis Outbreak Kills 1 and Infects 14

( – A tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in a California hotel housing homeless individuals has resulted in one fatality and the infection of 14 others, prompting city health authorities to declare a public health emergency.

Officials announced May 9th that the outbreak, which occurred at an unnamed hotel, led to the hospitalization of nine individuals. The identity of the deceased person has not been disclosed.

City officials mentioned that the outbreak is presently limited to a particular group, and they assured that the overall risk to the general public is minimal.

The population affected by this outbreak faces significant challenges in accessing healthcare, including homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse, and severe medical conditions.

The declaration of a health emergency aims to enhance the city’s readiness and ability to respond effectively to the outbreak.

Approximately 170 people are believed to have been exposed to TB, and the Health Department is actively screening contacts for symptoms and conducting diagnostic tests.

Health officials anticipate an increase in the number of cases and contacts identified, with affected individuals being provided with appropriate treatment for active TB disease or latent TB infection.

Authorities have decided not to disclose the name of the hotel where the outbreak happened in order to protect the privacy of the patients and adhere to HIPAA regulations. It’s important to note that the hotel is privately run and has no association with the City of Long Beach.

Tuberculosis, transmitted through airborne particles, primarily affects the lungs but can also impact other organs such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. Unlike COVID-19, TB is less contagious but still poses a risk in close proximity.

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a double board-certified doctor based in New York City, explained that TB is contracted when infected individuals cough or sneeze, releasing bacteria into the air which can then be inhaled by others.

This TB outbreak follows a surge in cases across the United States, with 2023 seeing the highest number of TB cases in a decade, according to the CDC. Chicago health officials also reported a small number of TB cases at migrant facilities in the city last month.

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