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More than 700 babies exposed to tuberculosis in Texas

Health officials in West Texas have begun testing some babies for tuberculosis because more than 700 infants at an El Paso hospital were exposed to a worker found to have the disease.

TribLive, Sep 22, 2014

The children may have been exposed at a nursery in the Providence Memorial Hospital of El Paso between September 2013 and last month, when a health care worker tested positive for TB. Local health authorities declined to say on Monday how many children have come in for testing.

Armando Saldivar, spokesman for the El Paso Department of Public Health, said officials used guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine how far back to test people who could have been exposed to the disease. “We took the date of first signs and symptoms (of the health care worker) and went back three months to determine who is considered ‘exposed,' ” he said.

Saldivar said local health officials do not know why the worker was not tested by the hospital until Aug. 21 if the person had symptoms as early as December. Officials are still investigating how and when the worker became infected, Saldivar said.

Audrey Garcia, Providence Memorial Hospital spokeswoman, said that so far no other workers have tested positive for active tuberculosis.

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