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Statement on Tuberculosis Transmission from Patient to Staff - 08/02/2007

Statement on Tuberculosis Transmission from Patient to Staff

Release Date: August 2, 2007

Routine annual TB screening of staff at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in mid-March has revealed that a nonmedical employee of the hospital has contracted tuberculosis (TB). 

A thorough and standard hospital investigation of how and where the employee could have contracted TB is still under way.  Tuberculosis experts at Hopkins say the risk of possible transmission from patient to staff, staff to staff, or patient to patient, remains very low.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital infection control staff has identified the most likely source of infection as a patient undergoing treatment at the hospital for an unrelated condition between Aug. 7 and Dec. 2, 2006. 

Johns Hopkins is committed to ensuring the safety of its patients and staff from transmission of infectious diseases.  Therefore, patients, staff and patient visitors who were possibly exposed and potentially at increased risk are being identified, contacted and offered testing.

Hospital policies and procedures to further protect the patients and staff, including screening of employees for TB, are being followed. 

The employee’s infection was caught in its earliest stages, when routine skin testing proved positive.  The employee has a very treatable form of TB and has been prescribed standard drug therapy.  The employee is expected to make a full recovery and is not now and was never considered highly contagious or a threat to the health of coworkers or other staff and patients at Johns Hopkins.  The employee remains at work, and the patient believed to have transmitted TB to our employee is undergoing standard drug treatment for the disease.

In keeping with regulations and policies, hospital officials notified the Baltimore City Health Department and Baltimore County health officials in December of the patient’s positive TB results.  Baltimore City Health Department notified Johns Hopkins July 20 that the strain of TB in the employee was virtually identical to that of the patient, confirming that this patient was the likely source of exposure for the Johns Hopkins employee.  Johns Hopkins will cooperate with and provide assistance to the city and county as needed in following up with patients and staff about their risk of infection and potential health care needs.

For the Media

Media contact:

Gary Stephenson

David March