Long Beach declares public health emergency over Tuberculosis, with 1 dead, 170 exposed.

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City officials declared a public health emergency Thursday after a tuberculosis outbreak left one person dead and nine others hospitalized.

Apublic health emergency has been declared by officials in Long Beach, California following a confirmed tuberculosis outbreak in a local single-room occupancy hotel.

The outbreak, initially comprising 14 cases and one death, has raised concerns about the potential exposure of an additional 170 people, according to a statement last Thursday from Long Beach’s Public Information Office. Nine people have been hospitalized, and one person has died.

“The outbreak is currently isolated to a distinct population, and the risk to the general public is low,” the statement said. “The population at risk in this outbreak faces significant barriers to care, including homelessness, housing insecurity, mental illness, substance use, and serious medical comorbidities.”

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Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. TB spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing bacteria into the air which can be inhaled by others.

Symptoms of TB include coughing (sometimes with blood), chest pain, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. TB can be latent, meaning the bacteria are in the body but not causing symptoms, or active, where symptoms are present and the person is contagious.

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Treatment typically involves a combination of antibiotics taken for several months. It’s crucial to complete the full course of treatment to prevent the development of drug-resistant strains of TB. In some cases, drug-resistant TB can be more challenging to treat.

TB used to be a major cause of illness and death, but with advancements in medicine and public health efforts, its incidence has decreased in many parts of the world. However, it remains a significant global health concern, especially in regions with limited access to healthcare and resources.

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