Nurse with TB may have exposed over 1,000 people, including 350 infants at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

As many as 350 infants, 308 employees and 368 parents may have been exposed to tuberculosis after a San Jose, Calif-based Santa Clara Valley Medical Center maternity wing nurse was diagnosed with the disease, according to a news release from the hospital.

"While it is very unlikely that infants who may have been exposed will come down with the disease, the consequences of infection in infants can be serious," the news release reads. "SCVMC will provide both diagnostic testing and preventative daily treatments of isoniazid, an antibiotic that kills tuberculosis and can successfully prevent infants from becoming ill. The 350 infants that may have been exposed will be monitored closely for signs of active tuberculosis. Moms and employees who may have been exposed will be screened and provided preventative treatment if needed."

The hospital was notified mid-November that the nurse was suspected of having active tuberculosis, and the employee was placed on leave at that time.The patients the hospital is notifying of possible exposure are those who were in SCVMC's Mother & Infant Care Center between mid-August and mid-November of this year.

The bacteria is contracted through the air, but only active strains are able to spread.

"We are committed to the safety of our patients and staff," Stephen Harris, MD, chair of pediatrics for SCVMC, said in a statement. "While the risk of infection is low, the consequences of a tuberculosis infection in infants can be severe. That's why we decided to do widespread testing and start preventative treatments for these infants as soon as possible."

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