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Newborns Possibly Exposed to Tuberculosis at El Paso Hospital

Brian Finehout-Henry2 years ago

The El Paso Times reports on that over 700 newborns were potentially exposed to tuberculosis at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso over the last year.

About the Tuberculosis Exposure

ABC News reports that a female nurse who worked at Providence Memorial Hospital has tested positive for tuberculosis, or TB, and that any newborns born at Providence Memorial Hospital between September 2013 and August 2014 might have been exposed to the bacteria.

CNN reports babies and newborns are more likely to develop more severe and life threatening infections compared to adults. Time reports the El Paso Department of Public Health had just inspected Providence Memorial Hospital and found that infection management standards were deficient and that the hospital could see a cut in its Medicare and Medicaid funding if the problems are not corrected.

Tuberculosis Infection Can Be Deadly

Tuberculosis can remain dormant, not causing any signs or symptoms, for years before it turns into an active infection, according to Reuters. The infection can be fatal if not properly treated.

The El Paso Times reports that TB can affect the brain, lungs, spine, and kidneys and that it can be spread when a person, with an active infection, coughs, sneezes, talks, breathes, and sings.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as symptoms of tuberculosis:

  • Cough, which lasts longer than 3 weeks
  • Night Sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Feeling weak and/or sick
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

According to the National Institutes of Health, the tuberculosis infection can spread to the brain and cause tuberculosis meningitis, which has the following additional symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Poor feeding
  • Stiff neck
  • Persistent fever
  • Abnormal posture, head and neck will arch backwards
CDC and El Paso Department Of Public Health Recommend Having the Infants Tested

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, recommends that infants possibly exposed to tuberculosis be tested because early treatment can reduce the risks of developing complications.

The El Paso Department of Public Health announced the possible exposure on Friday September 19, 2014 and is contacting parents of infants born at Providence Memorial Hospital and has set up free testing services.

Testing for latent TB is done by the PPD skin test and takes 2-3 days before results are available, according to the National Institutes of Health.


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