PORTLAND, Oregon – Providence St. Vincent Medical Center says one of its caregivers has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.
The hospital, citing patient privacy laws, did not disclose what role the caregiver played or what part of the hospital where they worked.
About 75 percent of tuberculosis cases in Oregon come from people traveling to developing countries, where the disease may be more prevalent.
"These are people who would have been in direct or close contact with the caregiver for a long period of time," said Jennifer Burrows, executive director of nursing at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.
Patients who were exposed to the infected caregiver will be contacted by the hospital.
In the last two years, 139 people tested positive for tuberculosis, although not all people who tested positive become contagious.
"If they get sick, it's a serious illness," said Dr. Rachel Plotinski, medical director of Infection Prevention in St. Vincent. "Then you can infect others, so we would like to know when people have been exposed to protect them from that very rare possibility."
The symptoms of tuberculosis include strong cough, especially coughing up blood.
Some of the collaborators of the infected caregiver have been examined and hospital officials anticipate that they will have a better idea of how much, if at all, the disease has spread. It is expected that the results of the initial tests will return in the coming days.