DETROIT (WWJ) – State health officials are investigating a case of tuberculosis exposure at four Detroit health care facilities.
The Michigan Department of Community Health said Thursday a worker who was unknowingly was ill with TB worked last year at multiple hospitals. The worker is currently receiving treatment and is not working at this time.
The MDCH said the worker was in contact with about 560 patients who received dental care between Aug. 1 and Dec. 17.
Patients and staff that may have been exposed have already been notified and urged to get tested.
“They may have potentially been exposed to this worker,” said health department spokeswoman Angela Minicuci. “Now, what we’ve been able to do working with the facilities is to determine exactly who this worker came in contact with, what patients and what staff; so because of that, we do feel very confident about who we have identified.”
The affected Detroit health care facilities are: Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Hospital, St. John Hospital and Medical Center and University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry.
If you didn’t get notification, but you got dental treatment at those facilities during that time period, and you’re concerned, you are urged to contact the health care center directly.
TB is a treatable bacterial disease that can be serious and is spread through the air from one person to another. There are two forms of TB: TB infection, where people have the TB bacteria in their bodies but are not sick, and TB disease, where the bacteria multiply and cause people to become sick. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 9,945 new cases of TB disease in the United States, of which 149 cases were reported from Michigan.
According to the MDCH, not everyone who is exposed to TB will be infected, and many people who have TB infection never develop TB disease. However, those who do develop disease can spread the bacteria to other people, and it is important to identify those who may be at risk so that they can receive treatment to prevent the disease from developing.
There are two types of tests for TB infection, a skin test or a blood test. Both tests are simple, will be administered by the respective hospital at no cost to the patient, and results are available within a few days.