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Providence St. Vincent Medical Center caregivers diagnosed with tuberculosis

PORTLAND, Ore. – Providence St. Vincent Medical Center reports that one of its caregivers has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

The hospital, relying on privacy laws, would not disclose what role the caregiver played or what part of the hospital they worked in.

About 75 percent of Oregon's tuberculosis cases are from people traveling to developing countries where the disease may be more prevalent.

"These are people who have been in direct or close contact with this caregiver for extended periods of time," said Jennifer Burrows, senior nurse for the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Patients exposed to the infected caregiver are contacted by the hospital.

Over the past two years, 1

39 people have tested positive for tuberculosis, although not everyone who tests positive becomes contagious.

"When they get sick, it's a serious disease," Dr. Rachel Plotinski, Medical Director of Infection Prevention, St. Vincent. "It can then be transferred to others, so we would like to know when people were abandoned to protect them from this very rare possibility."

Symptoms of tuberculosis are severe cough, especially hemoptysis.

Some staff members of the infected caregiver have been tested, and hospital officials expect to have a better idea of ​​how much, if any, the disease is spreading. The first test results are expected in the next few days.

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