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Tuberculosis Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency in Long Beach

A public health emergency has been declared in Long Beach, California, due to a tuberculosis outbreak. The outbreak has resulted in the death of one person and the hospitalization of nine others. Officials have identified fourteen people with active tuberculosis as of April 29, all of which have been linked to a single-room-occupancy hotel. However, the name of the hotel has not been disclosed in an effort to protect the patients’ privacy.

The Health Department has announced that individuals who stayed at the hotel at the time or may have been exposed will be contacted. Furthermore, approximately 170 people have been identified as likely being exposed to TB. The emergency declaration, issued on Thursday, is expected to be ratified by the Long Beach City Council on Tuesday, allowing for expanded intervention efforts by the Health Department.

California has seen a rise in tuberculosis cases, with a 15 percent increase in 2023 compared to 2022, marking the highest year-over-year increase since 1989. Officials have noted that the population at risk in the current outbreak faces significant barriers to care, including homelessness, mental illness, substance use, and serious medical comorbidities.

Tuberculosis, a disease caused by a microbe that can be dormant without symptoms, is transmitted through airborne particles and spreads most easily in poorly ventilated environments. Health officials have emphasized the importance of identifying and treating TB disease, as well as understanding its symptoms.

As the situation unfolds in Long Beach, it is crucial to prioritize the health and safety of the community, especially for those facing vulnerabilities. This outbreak underscores the importance of proactive measures to address public health emergencies and safeguard the well-being of all individuals.

Written by Staff Reports

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