DETROIT – Michigan health officials are investigating possible exposure to tuberculosis at several southeast Michigan physician practice locations.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is collaboratively working with the Macomb County Health Department, Oakland County Health Division, Lakeview Pediatrics and its Ascension Medical Group Michigan locations in Macomb Township, Rochester and St. Clair Shores to determine the health status of patients identified as being in close contact with a healthcare associate recently diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).
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The healthcare associate, who unknowingly was ill with TB disease at the time, worked in these Lakeview Pediatrics practice locations between April 1, 2019, and Jan. 9, 2020. All individuals who may have been exposed are being notified and encouraged to obtain testing. Testing is being offered at no cost.
The associate diagnosed with pulmonary TB is receiving treatment and is not currently working. All associates and providers at the practice have been tested and do not have active TB disease.
“TB is a treatable bacterial disease that is spread through the air from one person to another,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “While the infection can be serious, not everyone who is exposed to TB will be infected, and many people who are infected never develop symptoms.”
There are two forms of TB infection: latent TB infection, where people have the TB bacteria in their bodies but are not sick, and TB disease, where the bacteria multiply and cause people to become sick. Those who develop the disease can spread the bacteria to other people. It is important to identify those who may be at risk, so they can receive treatment to prevent the disease from developing.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 9,025 new cases of TB disease in the United States, of which 108 cases were reported from Michigan.
TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs but can attack any part of the body such as the spine, brain or kidneys.
TB symptoms can include:
- A bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer
- Pain in the chest
- Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)
- Weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
- No appetite
- Sweating at night
Ascension Medical Group Michigan has set up a call center for scheduling tests and responding to questions. The call center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday. It can be reached by calling 855-757-4376.