Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Babies at Texas Hospital Test Positive for TB: What You Need to Know

Recently, five babies tested positive for tuberculosis in El Paso, Texas after coming in contact with a worker at the facility who was infected with the disease. Possibly more than 800 newborns and 40 employees were also exposed to this sometimes deadly disease.

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a potentially fatal disease that affects the lungs. It can lay dormant (no signs of infection) for months or years.  Once active, it is spread through coughs, sneezes and speaking in close proximity. Babies can be particularly sensitive to TB because they have weakened or immature immune systems. Older people can also be vulnerable to TB and can become easily infected if they come in contact with an infected individual.

Symptoms of TB include:

  • a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • pain in the chest
  • coughing up blood or sputum
  • weakness or fatigue
  • weight loss
  • no appetite
  • chills
  • fever
  • sweating at night

If you think you might have been exposed to TB, please contact your physician. For more information on TB, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at For any questions about poison, please contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

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