Title: Public Health Emergency Declared Following Potential Tuberculosis Outbreak at Local YMCA Child Care Service
In a response to a potential tuberculosis (TB) exposure at the Westview YMCA Childwatch in Douglas County, the Health Department has declared a public health emergency. More than 550 individuals have been identified as potentially exposed to the contagious disease from May to October.
Officials have confirmed one case of TB and are diligently working to determine if any additional cases have occurred. The Chief Epidemiologist at the Health Department has emphasized that children are particularly vulnerable to negative outcomes related to TB if preventative measures or treatment are not implemented.
In an effort to mitigate the potential spread of the disease, the health department will be conducting clinics to test children who may have been exposed. Testing is particularly recommended for those who have had close contact with individuals diagnosed with TB on one or more occasions.
Over the weekend, the health department partnered with Children’s Nebraska to conduct evaluations and tests on approximately 270 children who were potentially exposed. Fortunately, no additional hospitalizations have been reported as a result of the evaluations.
It is important to note that tuberculosis is a treatable disease, and cases are relatively rare. While TB vaccines are not widely used in the U.S., they are administered to infants and young children in countries where tuberculosis is prevalent.
The health department has extensive experience in treating TB, having handled 15 cases in 2022 and 15 cases this year. Their expertise ensures that appropriate measures are taken to contain and manage the potential outbreak.
Knowing the symptoms of TB is crucial for early detection and treatment. These symptoms include a persistent cough, chest pain, coughing up blood or sputum, weakness and fatigue, weight loss, lack of appetite, chills and fever, and night sweats.
The health and safety of the community, especially children, remain the utmost priority for the Douglas County Health Department. By promptly identifying potentially exposed individuals and conducting necessary tests, the department hopes to prevent the further spread of TB within the community.
As the situation evolves, the health department will continue to provide updates and take actions in accordance with the protocols and guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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