County health officials are scrambling to identify who was exposed to tuberculosis at Hemet Valley Medical Center and Parkview Community Hospital after some hospital employees at both facilities were diagnosed with an active form of the respiratory illness.
Two employees at Hemet Valley Medical Center and one at Parkview Community Hospital are undergoing treatment and expected to make full recoveries. Those involved were not identified by officials. According to public health experts, there is no indication the cases are related. Officials have yet to determine how the individuals contracted the illness.
Riverside University Health System-Public Health and the hospitals are notifying more than 2,000 staff members and patients who may have been exposed to the disease. Those notified are urged to be tested for tuberculosis (TB) through their health care provider. Hemet Valley has made special arrangements for free TB testing of individuals seen at its hospital. Dates and times will be included in the notification letters.
About 900 notifications are being sent from Hemet Valley and more than 1,200 from Parkview. Those who test positive will be referred for an x-ray and evaluation for appropriate treatment. Those who do not receive a letter are not considered at-risk for TB exposure.
According to Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser, “The risk of transmission is low, but TB can still be a serious illness. If you receive notification you may have been exposed, getting tested promptly will ensure any risk you have is dealt with quickly.”
TB is spread through the air during prolonged, repeated, and close contact with an individual infected with active tuberculosis. Left untreated, it can result in serious complications. Symptoms include a productive cough, unexplained weight loss, fever, and fatigue. Not everyone infected with TB becomes sick. A person with inactive or latent TB cannot spread it to others.