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Tuberculosis outbreak spreading through LA's homeless population, health officials say

February 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Officials have issued a health warning about a tuberculosis outbreak that could be spreading in parts of Los Angeles.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, TB is spreading through the city's homeless population. There have been about 80 cases since 2007, including 11 deaths.

The department has been tracking the outbreak, but now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending in investigators. The goal is to find out how to stop the outbreak before it moves into the general population.

"It has a lot to do with the fact that they're in closed communities. These shelters have a lot of people under the same roof and if you have one person sick and coughing, he's putting everybody else at high risk," said Dr. Alejandra Rodriguez, a family physician with Molina Healthcare.

The health department says the TB outbreak is the result of a single strain of the bacteria that can be fought off with proper treatment.


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