Tuberculosis in California killed One and Infects 14 others; Officials Declare a Health Emergency

Tuberculosis in California killed One and Infects 14 others; Officials Declare a Health Emergency

One person has died in a California hotel where homeless people are staying because of an outbreak of tuberculosis (TB). The city’s health officials have declared a public health emergency.

The scary outbreak at the unnamed hotel affected 14 people, and nine of them had to go to the hospital, Long Beach’s Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. No one has said who the dead person was.

“The outbreak is currently isolated to a distinct population and the risk to the general public is low,” city leaders said.

“The population at risk in this outbreak has significant barriers to care including homelessness and housing insecurity, mental illness, substance use and serious medical comorbidities.”

The health emergency was declared to make the city better prepared for and able to handle the outbreak, according to officials.

The Health Department is checking connections for TB by looking at symptoms, giving blood or skin tests, and doing chest X-rays. About 170 people have likely been exposed to TB.

The Health Department says it expects the number of cases and contacts to rise. People who are treated for active TB disease or dormant TB infection will be given more care.

Health officials say they can’t say what hotel it is because they need to protect patient information and follow the rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). There is no deal between the City of Long Beach and the private hotel.

Particles in the air can spread tuberculosis. It usually affects the lungs, but it can also happen in other parts of the body, like the kidneys, spine, and brain. COVID is more likely to spread than this.

The CDC says that the number of tuberculosis cases in the U.S. in 2023 was the highest in ten years. This caused TB to spread.

Case numbers went up across all age groups, going from 8,320 in 2022 to 9,615 in 2023, which is a rise of 1,295 cases. The agency says that there were almost 10,000 cases in 2013.

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