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Five babies have tested positive for tuberculosis infection after an employee at an El Paso hospital exposed hundreds of infants to the disease, according to a statement released by the El Paso Department of Public Health.
The department notes that the children are not considered to have active TB, the contagious and potentially fatal form of the disease, and that four received a BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccine that may be generating false positives. All will be offered treatment.
"Based on new state and federal recommendations and out of an abundance of caution, the list of children considered possibly exposed has been increased by 96," read the statement. "The total number of parents receiving a letter and or telephone call to come in for a screening will be 858 on Monday."
On September 19, the El Paso Department of Public Health determined that more than 700 patients and 40 employees were exposed to the disease in the postpartum and newborn nursery of Providence Memorial Hospital between September 2013 and August 2014. The list of possible exposures can fluctuate over time, according to the Health Department.
- Ryan Creed