Hundreds of Hospital Staff and Patients To Get Tested for TB
Patients could have been exposed by graduate doing his residency
Omaha, NE - Close to 180 people who were treated at the VA Hospital and Creighton University Medical Center now have a new health concern on their minds.
Many of the patients recently received a call from a nurse saying they could have been exposed to Tuberculosis after getting seen by a medical school graduate doing his residency at both hospitals. "This was an issue that was identified promptly and is being addressed right away," Dr. Marvin Bittner.
Dr. Marvin Bittner with the VA Hospital says his team is arranging tests for the patients who could have been exposed to TB by the resident between March and June. Both the VA and Creighton are also planning to test staff and volunteers.
"TB doesn't spread that easy so it's quite likely that we will do many tests and not find much transmission if any," Bittner said.
The Douglas County Health Department is working with both hospitals. Officials say the disease is not all that common in Omaha. "You have to have close contact with someone who is contagious at the time and not just passing by them, you have to have spent a little time with them," Dr. Anne O'Keffe said.
TB testing is done eight weeks after the person may have been exposed - a process that could last well into the summer for both hospitals.
Some of the symptoms of TB include coughing, excessive sweating, fever, and fatigue. The health department says last year they treated about 10 people for the disease.