UK employee contracts tuberculosis

By Nicole Schladt

An employee at the UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of tuberculosis.

One of the hospital’s female nurses, who is also a student at Eastern Kentucky University, has been isolated and receiving treatment since her diagnosis was confirmed in mid-October, a Good Samaritan news release said.

The hospital is working to notify patients who may have come in contact with the employee so they can get medical treatment if they have compromised immune systems or begin to show signs of infection. These patients include those treated on the fifth or sixth floors of Good Samaritan on days that she was working from June 1 through Oct. 13. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is currently compiling a list of further contacts by talking with the infected nurse and determining who she has come in contact with, according to a health department news release.

At least 82 Good Samaritan employees have already been tested for tuberculosis. The victim is no longer attending classes at EKU, but about 50 students on campus in Madison County have been tested as well, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department Communications Officer Kevin Hall said.

“We have a very active TB program here. We are working with the hospital to do testing on exposed individuals and the Madison County Health Department is working with EKU to handle their testing,” Hall said.

Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection that primarily attacks the lungs. It is transmitted when a person breathes in droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person. Common symptoms include coughing, wheezing and fatigue, but the infection often remains dormant for several years before being triggered into active tuberculosis by another illness.

UK HealthCare is able to answer any questions or concerns regarding tuberculosis at 800-207-1268 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or at 859-323-0077 after 6 p.m.