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3 deaths related to tuberculosis

New Mexico residents may have heard of a number of cases of tuberculosis in Nevada. According to a report, Nevada public health officials may have linked several dozen new tuberculosis cases to prior exposure during a recent case of the disease in a neonatal unit.

Southern Nevada Health District authorities stated that 59 out of 977 individuals tested had contracted the disease. Of those, only two cases showed symptoms. A Health District medical officer suggested that this underscores the extreme urgency of early detection of infectious diseases. He also urged doctors to seriously consider diagnoses and quarantines, which should immediately be followed by a notification sent to the public health agency. He further disclosed that delayed assistance from physicians who failed to take those basic steps might have forced his agency to spend a large amount of money.

According to a state report published last month, the outbreak occurred because of failure to diagnose an infected woman who delivered twins at a Las Vegas hospital in May. The death of the 25-year-old mother was allegedly caused by the hospital's failure to diagnose the woman with the disease, and the deaths of her children may have been related to the woman's continued contact with them.

Nevada Bureau of Healthcare Quality and Compliance investigators found that the facility failed to take proper infectious disease precautions. Several employees, former patients and visitors sued the facility for hospital negligence in November. Loved ones of the deceased mother also revealed plans to file a lawsuit. Those lawsuits may result in awards that cover the cost of medical care for the disease as well as other related damages.

Source: CBS News, "59 test positive for tuberculosis after outbreak at Las Vegas neonatal unit", December 23, 2013

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