TB Transmission Reported at N.Y. Hospital Maternity Ward

Filipino maternity nurse identified as the source

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A foreign-born maternity nurse working in the newborn nursery of a New York City hospital has been identified as the source of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission to four newborns on the ward, according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials in Atlanta report that the Philippines-born nurse had a positive TB test. An investigation revealed that the nurse had been diagnosed with latent TB infection (LTBI) 11 years earlier, but had refused treatment. She told officials that most residents in her country test positive for TB but are not treated.

None of the four infants testing positive for TB had received bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination. An investigation revealed that about 1,500 people had been exposed to the nurse, though most could not be located for evaluation.

CDC officials write that "current guidelines recommend considering treatment for health care workers who have a tuberculin skin test result of 10 mm or greater, especially if they emigrated from a country with high TB prevalence during the preceding five years. A history of vaccination with BCG should not influence the decision to treat LTBI."

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