Tuberculosis Tests are Positive in 5 Babies Born at El Paso Hospital
NBC News reports, five babies exposed to tuberculosis at Providence Memorial Hospital have tested positive for the bacteria.
Tuberculosis Tests Continue
Of the over 850 babies exposed to tuberculosis from a hospital worker at Provide Memorial Hospital in El Paso, Texas, only 200 had been tested as of Monday September 29th, according to reporting done by ABC News.
The El Paso Times reports babies born at Providence Memorial Hospital between September 1, 2013 and August 16, 2014 could have been exposed to the bacteria, which can develop into a fatal infection.
Fox News reports the nurse who is suspected of exposing the newborns to TB was showing signs of tuberculosis infection more than a month before she was tested by the hospital.
Over 850 Infants Exposed to Tuberculosis
The El Paso Department of Public Health says over 850 babies could have been exposed to tuberculosis, but the number of infants potentially exposed and requiring testing is expected to grow, according to WFAA of Dallas, Texas.
A press release by the El Paso Department of Public Health reports the babies thought to have been exposed to TB should be tested as soon as possible and that most of the exposed babies live in Texas, but almost 60 live in New Mexico, 27 live in Mexico, and there is one infant in each of Arizona, Montana, and Minnesota.
According to the Mayo Clinic, TB will usually start as a latent infection, in this phase the infected person will not show signs or symptoms, and eventually develops into an active infection with the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Night sweats
Infants Should Be Tested As Soon As Possible
CBS News reports that it is hard to detect a tuberculosis infection in infants because it only takes a small amount of bacteria to cause an infection in this population. It is also being reported by Fox News that infants under six months are being given preventive medicine regardless of test results.
CNN reports, that treatment with antibiotics should be started early before an active infection of tuberculosis can develop and it can take 6 to 9 months to complete a round of treatment. The El Paso Department of Public Health is providing testing services for free, but is encouraging parents to call and schedule an appointment.