More Than 700 Infants Exposed to TB at Texas Hospital

The El Paso Department of Health has contacted the parents of more than 700 infants who were born at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso between September 2013 and August 2014 because they may have been exposed to tuberculosis. The Washington Post has reported that the employee who caused the potential outbreak was not a nurse at the hospital but a patient care tech. She has not worked at the hospital since August 16th. According to the Post, “The hospital’s chief medical officer, Enrique Martinez, said officials still weren’t sure how the employee contracted the disease. TB can remain latent for years, meaning that individuals will test positive for the disease but aren’t symptomatic. However, those with a latent TB infection can’t spread the disease to others, according to the CDC. Those who develop TB of the throat or lungs are capable of spreading it to others through coughing, speaking, or sneezing.”