Michigan pediatric healthcare employee with TB worked for months, officials say

Healthcare workers test for TB by injecting a small amount of fluid -- tuberculin -- into the skin.

A pediatric healthcare worker in Michigan was ill with tuberculosis and didn't know it while working in several locations over nine months, the state's health department said.

The worker was recently diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, and the department is working with medical groups to find out whether patients who were in close contact with the worker were exposed, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a release.

The worker, who is receiving treatment, was at the locations between April 1, 2019, and January 9.

All associates and providers at the pediatric practice have been tested and do not have active TB disease, according to the health department.

"TB is a treatable bacterial disease that is spread through the air from one person to another," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the department, in the release. "While the infection can be serious, not everyone who is exposed to TB will be infected, and many people who are infected never develop symptoms."

Officials stressed there are two forms of infection: latent, in which people have the bacteria in their bodies but are not sick, and TB disease, in which bacteria multiply and cause people to become sick. The worker had the disease.

"Those who develop the disease can spread the bacteria to other people. It is important to identify those who may be at risk, so they can receive treatment to prevent the disease from developing."

Everyone who may have been exposed is being notified and encouraged to get tested at no cost, the department said.

The individual worked at Lakeview Pediatrics locations in Macomb Township, Rochester and St. Clair Shores, officials said.

Ascension Medical Group Michigan set up a call center for the scheduling of tests and to answer questions. The call center, at 855-757-4376, can be reached from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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