From the New York Post-
A staggering 700 patients - including 238 newborns and infants - may have been exposed to killer tuberculosis by an infected nurse at a Bronx hospital, officials said yesterday.How quickly things can go wrong on their own for premature babies can read here, or how human incompetence can take a part too in this post. Premies are very vulnerable because they are not born with a developed immune system. Active TB usually shows visible warning signs. Did hospital employees miss the TB? The employee is being protected for their privacy, but how about the rest of the public?
The bombshell TB scare at St. Barnabas Hospital was announced by the city Health Department after officials had difficulty contacting many of the patients at risk.
TB is a contagious infection that typically attacks the lungs, and can be fatal if untreated.
Symptoms include coughing, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Newborns are particularly at high risk of infection.
So are adults with compromised immune systems, such as those infected with HIV/AIDS.
The disease can be treated and cured and, fortunately, the strain in question is not drug-resistant, health officials said.
The infected nurse checked herself into the St. Barnabas emergency room and was diagnosed with TB on Jan. 30.
"Because she was working at the hospital before she was diagnosed, she may have exposed others to TB," the Health Department said in a statement.
The employee is now cured, but has not returned to work, pending tests to confirm she's no longer a health threat to others, a spokesman said.
She worked in the neonatal intensive-care unit, the baby nursery, the maternity ward and psychiatric ward, officials said.
"Because their immune systems are not fully developed, newborns who are exposed to TB are at high risk of developing active TB," said Dr. Sonal Munsiff, the Heath Department's assistant commissioner of TB control.
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Labels: Health and Medicine