Maternity Ward at St. Lukes Hospital in Manhattan Exposed to Tuberculosis

By Sarah Matheson, Epoch Times
October 31, 2013 Updated: October 31, 2013    

NEW YORK— A staff member at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital’s maternity ward has tested positive for tuberculosis (TB), and may have come into contact with dozens of babies.

“Immediately upon learning of our employee’s illness, Roosevelt Hospital contacted the New York City Department of Health,” the hospital said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the hospital declined to give details about when and how many babies may have been exposed to the contagious airborne lung disease, or when the staff member was diagnosed.

The city’s Health Department said in a statement that it has “worked with the hospital to identify potentially exposed persons and disseminate notification letters to these individuals.”

The department also said it would follow-up with all exposed persons to ensure that they are evaluated.

A Daily News article suggested parents who had been notified had babies that were already two months old.

“Few individuals exposed to someone with TB become infected because infection generally occurs after continuous exposure over several hours. Still, we are taking the extraordinary precautions that we have to address this issue,” the hospital said in a statement.

The employee had allegedly been tested previously for TB, and had not had the disease at that time.

The hospital will be testing staff members that may have come in contact with the disease and providing patients options and locations for testing.

“Patients opting for evaluation by private physicians will be reimbursed by the hospital for those expenses not covered by insurance,” the hospital said in the statement.

Patients at the hospital who may have come into contact with the infected staff member should all receive a notification letter in the next few days.