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Healthcare associate diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published January 24, 2020

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"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.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

ST. CLAIR SHORES/ROCHESTER/MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Health officials in Macomb and Oakland counties, and members of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, are working to determine the health status of patients who were in close contact with a healthcare associate at Lakeview Pediatrics and Ascension Medical Group Michigan locations in Macomb Township, Rochester and St. Clair Shores over the past nine months after the associate was recently diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

According to the MDHHS, the healthcare worker was unknowingly ill with TB while working at Lakeview Pediatrics between April 1, 2019, and Jan. 9, 2020. Anyone who may have been exposed is being notified and is encouraged to be tested at no cost.

The associate is receiving treatment and is not currently working. Testing has confirmed that no other associates or providers at the practice have active TB disease.

Bacteria from TB grow in the lungs, but can attack any part of the body. Symptoms can include a bad cough lasting three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or phlegm from deep inside the lungs, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, chills, fever, and night sweats.

“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 in a press release. “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 the infection: latent TB infection, where people have the bacteria in their bodies but are not sick, and TB disease, where the bacteria multiply and cause people to become sick and spread the bacteria to others.

In 2018, there were 9,025 new cases of TB reported in the U.S., 108 of which were from Michigan.

Ascension Medical Group Michigan has set up a call center for those affected to schedule tests and to answer questions at (855) 757-4376. It is open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. 

In response to a request for comment, Ascension said it had no further comment beyond the release from MDHHS.

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

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