Emergency declared after over 500 babies and children exposed to TB at daycare

<em></img>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</em>.
Enlarge / Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Omaha, Nebraska health officials are urgently testing over 500 infants, toddlers, and children who may have been exposed to an active tuberculosis case at a local daycare. The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) announced a public health emergency Friday.

According to DCHD, the exposures occurred at the Westview YMCA daycare, which allows members to drop off their kids as they use the facility, between May 21, 2023, and October 30, 2023.

Children’s Nebraska pediatric hospital established a clinic to test children ages 4 and under who were potentially exposed in the last 10 weeks. DCHD will set up a clinic to test children ages 5 and up later this week.

Those exposed between August 21, 2023, and October 30, 2023, should undergo additional testing eight to ten weeks after their most recent exposure. Justin Frederick, deputy health director in Douglas County, called this an “urgent situation” in a briefing with reporters.

Frederick emphasized the seriousness of the situation due to the quick progression of tuberculosis in children, urging immediate testing and treatment where necessary.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that spreads through coughing, sneezing, speaking, or singing during prolonged, direct contact with an active case.

Official details about the person with active tuberculosis at the daycare were not disclosed. Health Director Lindsay Huse mentioned that they will start getting testing results from the younger children midweek and should have a better understanding of the situation by next week.

“It could certainly grow,” Huse said. “We are cautiously optimistic that it won’t have gotten that far yet.”


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