1 Dead, Several Hospitalized LA Declares Emergency. TB Outbreak, Officials Mum On Cause

Southern California is currently grappling with a tuberculosis outbreak that has already led to one death and nine hospitalizations. Health officials have declared a public health emergency in Long Beach, where the outbreak is centered around a single-room occupancy hotel, which has not been publicly identified for privacy reasons.

As of Monday, 14 cases of tuberculosis have been confirmed, but the situation could be more extensive, with 170 other individuals potentially exposed to the disease. These individuals are currently being identified and screened as a precaution. This screening is critical, as tuberculosis is a contagious disease that primarily affects the lungs and is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Dr. Anissa Davis, the City Health Officer, announced the public health emergency to enhance the city’s response capabilities to the outbreak. The focus of the response is on a specific group of people who face substantial barriers to care, including homelessness, housing insecurity, mental illness, substance abuse, and serious medical comorbidities. Officials have emphasized that the risk of exposure to the general public remains low.

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services has been proactive in reaching out to individuals who may have been exposed at the affected hotel.

Despite the severity of the situation, the hotel in question remains open, and it is unclear if the residents have been relocated. The health department is taking numerous steps to address the outbreak without resorting to a quarantine of the facility. The upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday will involve a formal vote to continue these efforts under the declared emergency.

This declaration is vital for the health department to quickly secure resources and take additional actions needed to manage the outbreak. The emergency status enables the department to provide temporary housing, food, transportation, and necessary medical treatment to those affected.

This local emergency comes amid a national increase in tuberculosis cases. Last year, the United States saw the highest number of tuberculosis cases in a decade, with over 9,600 cases reported—a 16% increase from 2022. This rise is particularly concerning as it represents the highest number since 2013, with the number of cases in California alone up by 15% compared to the previous year.

The Long Beach outbreak is not an isolated incident; it follows similar situations in other parts of the country, including a recent outbreak in migrant facilities in Chicago.



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