Tuesday 7 May 2024

State Declares Public Health Emergency After Tuberculosis Outbreak: 1 Dead, 14 Infections Confirmed – 170 Likely Exposed

 A public health emergency has been declared in Long Beach, California, due to a tuberculosis outbreak.

A declaration from Dr. Anissa Davis, Long Beach’s health officer, said one person has died and nine people have been hospitalized, according to Live Science.

Fourteen people with active TB had been identified as of April 29. All cases have been linked to a single-room-occupancy hotel. Officials are not naming the hotel in what they said was an effort to protect patients’ privacy.

“People who were staying at the hotel at the time or could have otherwise been exposed have been or will be contacted by the Health Department,” a Health Department statement said.


“Through the course of this investigation, staff have identified approximately 170 people who have likely been exposed to TB,” the statement said.

The emergency declaration, which was issued Thursday, is expected to be ratified by the Long Beach City Council on Tuesday, according to Newsweek.

The declaration allows the Health Department to take expanded intervention efforts.

TB has been rising in California. California’s 2023 cases were 15 percent higher than its TB caseload in 2022, according to the Los Angeles Times. That is the highest year-over-year increase since 1989, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Live Science said that the microbe that causes tuberculosis can be dormant in a person, without any symptoms. Between 5 percent and 10 percent of the people with the bacteria develop TB.

“The outbreak is currently isolated to a distinct population,” the Health Department statement said.

“The population at risk in this outbreak has significant barriers to care, including homelessness and housing insecurity, mental illness, substance use and serious medical comorbidities,” it said.

Tuberculosis passes from person to person through airborne particles, although it usually takes extensive exposure to a person who has active TB and spreads most easily in poorly ventilated environments.

“You can catch tuberculosis if someone is coughing or sneezing or in close contact, the bacteria from those particles gets into the air and anybody nearby will breathe that in — and that’s how they pick it up, and that’s how they catch it,” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat of New York City said, according to Fox News.

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