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Auburn Hospital, Washington says 26 babies and 27 adult patients possibly exposed to tuberculosis



Staff at a hospital in Auburn, Washington, said they are contacting 27 adult patients and families of 26 babies to recommend tuberculosis tests. The recommendation also extends to visitors who spent at least eight hours at the MultiCare Auburn Medical Center Birth Center between April 22 and September 30, after an employee tested positive for the disease.

At a news conference on Wednesday, the hospital said 107 staff working at the Birthing Center were also notified of a possible exposure, and testing for all patients would be free, according to the report. Q 13 Fox reporter Steve Kiggins.

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Health officials also found the situation worrying and said they "deeply regret any stress or anxiety" that the news may cause. The employee who tested positive for tuberculosis is receiving treatment and patients who do not receive a letter do not need tests.

"The likelihood of transmission to patients and staff is low," the hospital said in a news release. "TB is not easily disseminated and requires prolonged exposure."

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The hospital said it would alert pediatricians of affected babies and recommend that their parents talk to their child's doctor "to discuss the best next steps to monitor symptoms."

"For MultiCare, there is no higher priority than the safety of our patients and staff," Dr. Arun Mathews, Medical Director of MultiCare Auburn Medical Center, said in the press release. "This is a matter of concern to us, but we are committed to ensuring TB testing and taking care of those in need."

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Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but not everyone who contracts the bacteria gets sick. It is not transmitted when touching tables and other objects that an infected person has touched and is usually treatable with medications, according to MultiCare. The test usually involves samples taken from the skin or blood.


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