Northern Sydney and Central Coast local health districts have phoned patients seen by a paediatric health care worker at Hornsby, Wyong and Gosford hospitals who has been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).
The risk to patients is low, as short periods of exposure to TB rarely cause infection. However, precautionary free screening has been arranged for 146 patients seen by the health care worker while potentially infectious.
There is no ongoing risk to patients or staff and in the unlikely event any were infected, preventive antibiotics will be offered.
TB can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing however, it is very unusual to get TB from someone after brief or casual contact.
Around 90 per cent of people who are exposed to a person with TB will not develop the disease.
TB is also curable and can be prevented through antibiotics.
TB infection by itself does not cause symptoms, so it is important we test for it. Testing involves a skin test or blood test or X-ray.
The health care worker saw patients at Wyong Hospital from late May to July and had a few shifts at Gosford Hospital in June. They were at Hornsby Hospital from August to mid-October but ceased work when diagnosed and commenced antibiotic treatment.
Upon confirmation of the health care worker’s illness, NSW Health established an expert panel which reviewed the person’s work practices and provided recommendations on screening.
Further information is available on the NSW Health website: