At least 14 sickened from outbreak of tuberculosis

At least 14 sickened from outbreak of tuberculosis

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The City of Long Beach declared a public health emergency last week due to an outbreak of tuberculosis.

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City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis made the declaration May 2, according to officials.

“The outbreak is currently isolated to a distinct population and the risk to the general public is low,” the city said. “The population at risk in this outbreak has significant barriers to care including homelessness and housing insecurity, mental illness, substance use and serious medical comorbidities.”

As of April 29, 14 cases were found in Long Beach, according to The Los Angeles Times. Another 170 people were possibly exposed to tuberculosis.

Of the 14 cases, nine people have been hospitalized and one person has died, NBC News reported.

Tuberculosis was found among people who were staying in a single-room occupancy hotel, the city said, according to CNN. The name of the hotel has not been released but those who were staying there may be contacted by health officials.

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is an illness caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, according to the City of Long Beach. The illness attacks the lungs in most cases but can attack other areas, like the kidney, spine and brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It can spread through the air after someone who has it coughs, sneezes or talks. It does not transmit as fast as COVID-19 and it usually requires being exposed for a prolonged amount of time, according to the city.

Those who are homeless, have HIV or are using illicit substances have an increased risk of getting infected with TB.

TB can also be prevented through detection and treatment.

Symptoms of tuberculosis

TB starts with a bad cough that can last for about three weeks or longer, the CDC said. It can also cause chest pain and coughing up phlegm or blood.

Other symptoms include weakness or fatigue, weight loss or loss of appetite, chills, fever and night sweats.

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