San Jose hospital continues testing infants, mothers potentially exposed to tuberculosis

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, Calif. is seen in this undated image.
The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, Calif. is seen in this undated image.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara Valley Medical Center hospital staff told ABC7 News they spent much of the weekend testing employees and patients who may have been exposed to tuberculosis.

Officials said a total of up to 1,000 people, including 350 infants and their mothers were tested.

Hospital officials said no one else has tested positive, so far.

This all started last week when a nurse who works in the Mother and Infant Care Center tested positive for tuberculosis. "Not every baby who was born during this time was exposed to the employee with tuberculosis," said Dr. Stephen Harris, from the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

The hospital is now reaching out to babies and moms who were in the newborn nursery and had contact with the infected nurse between mid-August and mid-November.

The nurse with TB was diagnosed when she underwent treatment for an unrelated illness. "While she does have active tuberculosis, she does not have cough and did not have cough, so was not coughing up tuberculosis during the time she was working," Harris said.

TB is typically spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. Valley Medical Center has sent letters to affected families and set up a call center to answer questions and concerns.

The chair of Pediatrics is recommending all of the babies be treated with a daily antibiotic for six to nine months.

The Public Health Department said Santa Clara County has the fourth highest rate of tuberculosis in California.