Tuberculosis exposure being investigated at Southeast Michigan physician practice locations

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LANSING (WLNS):

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is working with multiple Southeast Michigan health departments to assess the health status of patients who came into close contact with a healthcare associate that was recently diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis.

A healthcare associate who did not know they had the TB disease had been working in the Lakeview Pediatrics practice locations between April 1, 2019 and Jan.9, 2020.

All individuals who may have been exposed are being notified and encouraged to obtain testing. Testing is being offered at no cost.

“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 MDHHS. “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.”

There are two forms of TB infection people should be aware of:

One is the latent 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.

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.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 9,025 new cases of TB disease in the United States, of which 108 cases were reported from Michigan.

TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs but can attack any part of the body such as the spine, brain or kidneys. Symptoms can include:

  • A bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer
  • Pain in the chest
  • Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • No appetite
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Sweating at night

Ascension Medical Group Michigan has set up a call center for scheduling tests and responding to questions. The call center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday. It can be reached by calling 855-757-4376.

For more information about TB, visit Michigan.gov/tb or cdc.gov/tb. 

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