According to ABC News on Wednesday, Nevada health officials are testing 140 newborns who they believe were exposed to tuberculosis at Summerlin Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A mother and her newborn twins died of tuberculosis at Summerlin Hospital over the summer, prompting an investigation by the Southern Nevada Health District. Letters went out to hundreds of patients in August, but after hospital employees tested positive for the disease, officials started calling families to get tested immediately.
Hospital staff didn't realize the infected woman had tuberculosis until after she and one of the twins died and they performed an autopsy, according to KTNV. The other twin was in the NICU being treated without being under quarantine.
The second baby was tested for TB and treated, but she succumbed to the disease at Summerlin Hospital on Aug. 1.
The delayed diagnosis may have come because the disease is relatively rare in the U.S. Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium that typically attacks the lungs and can be fatal if not treated properly. It's spread through the air when the infected person "coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings" and another person breathes in the bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include a bad cough that persists for three weeks or longer, fatigue, chest pain and coughing up blood.
Health officials think the woman contracted TB through an unpasteurized dairy product from Latin America, Iser said.
Health authorities identified 140 newborns and their parents who need TB testing, and say of the 192 staff that may have been exposed, 155 have been tested so far and 4 people have tested positive.
Now Summerlin Hospital is seeking out parents whose newborns were in the Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit between May 11, 2013 and Aug. 8, 2013.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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