Contacts: Michael Stacey, MD, Chief Medical Officer/Deputy Health Officer, Solano County, 707-784-8600
Laura McCasland, Communication and Media Officer, Sacramento County Public Health,
Sacramento and Solano County public health agencies are working with NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield and Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento to investigate potential exposures to an individual with active tuberculosis (TB) who spent time in both facilities. The Solano County resident is currently isolated and receiving treatment to prevent spread of TB.
Health officials are working together with both medical centers, in consultation with California Department of Public Health, to assess patients, visitors, and staff to determine who may have been exposed to the TB germ. There were periods of exposure in the Sacramento neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from March 14th - March 31st and the Solano NICU from March 31st to April 2nd and from April 11th to April 19th of 2012. Parents of exposed babies will be contacted within 24 hours, while others potentially exposed will be contacted within the next few days.
In accordance with State and Federal laws that protect patient confidentiality, no specific information about the individual with active TB will be released.
“From the medical evidence we have reviewed so far, we believe that the risk of infection with TB in this particular case is low,” according to Michael Stacey, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Solano County. “We will take the necessary measures to ensure that all those with significant levels of exposure are tested and, if necessary, treated with antibiotics.”
Contact investigations, like this one currently under way, are an important step in stopping the spread of TB. Any patients, visitors or staff determined to have TB infection will be given medication to prevent progression to TB disease. Olivia Kasirye, MD, MS, Health Officer, Sacramento County states, “Although it may be a new experience for the patients, visitors and staff to the NICU, contact investigations are a regular activity for Solano Public Health and Sacramento County Public Health TB Program staff, who receive new active TB disease cases regularly each month. TB is preventable and curable.”
For general TB information, visit www.cdc.gov/tb/
. During business hours, Solano County residents with
questions can call Solano Public Health at 707-784-8600. Sacramento County residents can contact Sacramento County Public Health at 916-875-5881.
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION
TB is a serious, treatable, and slow-growing bacterial lung disease. It is transmitted person-to-person through microscopic droplets that enter the air while coughing, sneezing, talking or singing. The most common way to become infected with TB germs is by spending a lot of time in enclosed air spaces with a person who has active TB disease.
TB is a disease that, by law, must be reported to the local Public Health Department. Upon notification of the TB disease diagnosis, public health nurses act immediately working with the patient and family members to list all of the places they have spent time and all of people with whom they have been in close contact. Public health staff will identify and test individuals who may have come in contact with the TB germ. Infection with TB can occur with prolonged indoor contact in an enclosed air space with the person who has active TB.
There is a difference between TB infection and active TB disease. Most people who test positive for TB have TB infection.
People with TB infection:
• Do not have disease and are not sick because the germ is inactive
• Do have the TB germ in their body
• Cannot spread the germ to others
• Over their lifetime, adults with TB infection have about a 10% risk of developing active TB disease if
untreated. The risk of developing active TB is much higher in infants and immunocompromised persons.
People with Active TB disease:
• Develop active TB from untreated TB infection
• Are ill from the germs that are active in their body
• May cough a lot, feel weak, have a fever, lose weight, cough up blood, or sweat a lot at night
• Are contagious and are capable of giving the infection to others, until they are treated, have repeated tests,
and are cleared for public contact by a doctor
• Can be treated and cured.