Report Confirms 59 People Test Positive for TB - 8 News NOW

Report Confirms 59 People Test Positive for TB

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Jax Davis spent time in Summerlin Hospital's Level III Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. Jax Davis spent time in Summerlin Hospital's Level III Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit.

LAS VEGAS -- The Southern Nevada Health District reports 59 people were diagnosed with tuberculosis stemming from an exposure at Summerlin Hospital in the summer of 2013.

The health district says the 59 people do not have active tuberculosis and are not considered infectious. A total of 977 adults, babies and hospital workers were tested after the discovery of the outbreak in the hospital's Level III Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. The outbreak started with the death of an infant who contracted the disease from her mother, who also died.

The cost of the health investigation is expected to surpass $200,000, making it one of the most expensive investigations for the Southern Nevada Health District.

Jax Davis was exposed to the disease at birth. Doctors say it's still too early to tell if infants from Summerlin Hospital's Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit have tuberculosis. Tests aren't reliable until after a baby is 1-year-old. Until then, Jenifer Davis won't stop worrying.

"When I took him to his pediatrician, they said, 'Oh if he gets a fever take him to the hospital. He's a baby, they get fevers all the time," Davis said.

Her father, who visited Jax at the hospital, has tested positive.

"My father tested positive for the TB luckily it's not active, but he does have to go on medication for nine months," Davis said.

Her father is among those who have latent tuberculosis. They aren't contagious and don't show any symptoms, but the disease can remain dormant for years before it becomes dangerous.

"What the immune system does is wall it off to protect you from becoming active. By walling it off, it's still alive inside a cyst-like structure," said Dr. Joe Iser, chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.

Davis says the ordeal has been a nightmare for her family.

"Somebody needs to be held accountable for this. They need to have better policies and procedures put in place. I just think it was something that could have been avoided."

state report released in November found the hospital didn't take some basic precautions to prevent the outbreak. The health district has recommended that the infants who may have been exposed go on antibiotics as a precaution even though none have tested positive.

Health district officials say the people who did test positive should be out of danger after nine months of antibiotics.

 

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