The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is conducting a routine Tuberculosis (TB) investigation at a local adult day care and has tested more than 100 clients and staff who currently attend or who have attended the day care.
Officials say these people were exposed to an active case of Tuberculosis (TB) at the Desert Heaven Adult Day Care possibly as early as June of last year. Approximately 130 attendees and staff have been tested for TB and confirmatory results are still pending in order to determine if any of them have an active/infectious form of the disease.
“We are currently performing a routine and systematic TB contact investigation in coordination with regional and state officials in order to determine if anyone has developed active TB as a result of this exposure,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “We continue to follow basic protocol in testing these people to help insure their well-being and to do our best to preserve health in our community.”
The DPH is now in the process of attempting to locate approximately 50 more individuals who need to be tested but who no longer attend the facility. Letters and home visits will begin next week and the department has set up a hotline for those whose contact information has changed.
Those who attended the facility between June 1st and December 31st of last year, who have not yet been tested, may call (915) 212-6609 Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to set up an appointment to receive free testing.
Tuberculosis can be spread when a person with active TB disease coughs or sneezes, releasing secretion droplets with the germs into the air. However, TB is not highly contagious and may require close contact over an extended period of time in order to be spread. Once in the body the bacteria usually lay dormant for months or years before they begin to grow and cause a case of active TB.
That is why it is so important to identify people who may have been exposed, screen them, and provide treatment that can prevent them from ever developing active TB disease. Only those with active Pulmonary TB disease can spread TB bacteria to others. Additional information about TB can be found at www.EPHealth.com.
Annual testing for TB is encouraged for those who live or work in a congregate setting, and for those in high risk occupations or who have high risk conditions. The DPH offers TB skin testing for $19.00 at our local immunization clinics. For an appointment, please contact 915-212-6555.
The mission of the Department of Public Health is to provide research and evaluation, prevention, intervention, and mobilization services to the people of El Paso so they can be healthy, productive, safe and secure.
For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or dial 2-1-1.