Riverside County Health Officers on Friday, August 30, contacted people who may have contacted an employee of the Permanente-Moreno Kaiser Valley suffering from active tuberculosis, advising those receiving letters to receive examination of tuberculosis.  According to the Ministry of Public Health, the patient is an employee of the hospital's oncology clinic and has been confirmed ill in recent weeks.
Kaiser patients and staff who may have been exposed are notified of a tuberculosis case with a recommendation to be screened for the disease. According to the health department, nearly 450 letters were sent in the last two days.
"While the risk of infection is low, it is important for those who receive the letter of notification to be tested," Dr. Cameron Kaiser, a county public health officer, said in a news release. "Testing is fast and can give you peace of mind."
Tuberculosis screening begins with a cursory skin test. If this proves to be positive, the person is asked to have a chest X-ray to confirm the infection.
Tuberculosis is spread by coughing, sneezing, singing or talking. The infection usually requires prolonged or repeated exposure of the patient with tuberculosis. People cannot be infected by handshaking, kissing or handling bedding and toilet seats, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials note that some people can become infected with tuberculosis without showing symptoms, including fever, cough, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and chest pain. Those with inactive tuberculosis are usually not infectious.
The health department registered 65 cases of tuberculosis in 201
There have been 56 cases of active tuberculosis in 2018 in San Bernardino County and 47 for this year so far, according to public health officials.
Staff writer Sandra Emerson contributed to this report.