50 possibly exposed to TB case in neonatal intensive care unit at Akron City Hospital

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AKRON, Ohio — Health officials say there were potential tuberculosis exposures in a neonatal intensive care unit at Summa’s Akron City Hospital in November and December by a Summit County resident.

The neonatal intensive care unit is operated by Akron Children’s Hospital.

The person was not aware of their diagnosis at the time. The case was officially identified on Jan. 3.

Summit County Public Health said nearly 50 people have been identified as those who could have been exposed to the person within the unit. Those 50 involve infants, visitors and staff.

“The risk for infection is low, but because TB can be more serious in young children we would like to evaluate these infants and begin them on a protective antibiotic,” said Dr. John Bower, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital. “We have set up a clinic and are providing this care at no cost to our patient families.”

Those who could have been exposed to the case have been identified and contacted and will be evaluated and tested, according to health officials.

“Adult care givers, older children and other individuals who may have visited the unit only during this time period are also encouraged to have a TB test in 6 to 8 weeks to see if they have been infected,” said Dr. Margo Erme, medical director of the Summit County Health Department. “This would be about 10 to 12 weeks after the last potential exposure which is the time for the body to develop its response to the TB bacteria.

Officials said there is no risk to the general public.

For more information, call Summit County Public Health at 330-375-2662, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or 330-283-6380 after hours or weekends. Or click here.

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