Indiana hospital notifies patients they may have been exposed to tuberculosis
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana hospital where an employee recently tested positive for tuberculosis has notified hundreds of patients that they may have been exposed to the bacteria that causes the illness.
Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said Clark Memorial Health had a “significant exposure” and has notified about 500 patients by letter that they were potentially exposed to TB at the hospital.
The county health department and the Indiana Department of Health held clinics earlier this month to test people who received those letters, the News and Tribune reported.
Yazel said no positive TB tests have been reported among any of the patients.
Clark Memorial Health said in a statement Tuesday to the News and Tribune that one of its employees had recently tested positive for TB and it was working closely with local and state health officials.
The hospital said it was following appropriate infectious disease protocols, including performing contact tracing to identify individuals who may have been exposed to TB at the hospital in Jeffersonville, an Ohio River city located just north of Louisville, Kentucky.
TB, which can be fatal, is an illness caused by bacteria that typically attacks the lungs. The bacteria mostly spread from person to person in the air, such as when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.
“Clark Memorial Health’s highest priority is delivering high quality care and ensuring a safe environment for our patients, team members and community. We can confirm one of our team members recently tested positive for tuberculosis (TB).
“We are working closely with the Indiana Department of Health and the Clark County Health Department and are following the appropriate infectious disease protocols, which includes conducting contact tracing to identify and test individuals who may have been potentially exposed. Due to privacy laws, we are unable to provide additional information at this time.
“Importantly, we want to reassure our community that it is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care. Our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage all kinds of infectious diseases, including TB, and our stringent infection control protocols remain in place.
“For more information, please reach out to Doug Bentfield at the Clark County Health Department at 812-288-2706.”
Angie Glotzbach, director of marketing and communications, Clark Memorial Health and Scott Memorial Health