Long Beach declares health emergency over tuberculosis outbreak that killed 1 person

David González Image
Friday, May 3, 2024
Deadly tuberculosis outbreak in Long Beach linked to hotel
A tuberculosis outbreak among residents of a single-room occupancy hotel in Long Beach has left one person dead and led to the hospitalizations of nine others.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A deadly outbreak of tuberculosis in Long Beach has forced city health officials to declare a public health emergency.

Dr. Anissa Davis, health officer for the city of Long Beach, said they're working to stop the disease from spreading.

There have been 14 tuberculosis cases linked to a private single room occupancy hotel as of Monday. Davis said nine people have had to be hospitalized, and one person has died.

Due to patient privacy laws, the name of the hotel can't be released, but people who were staying there could have been exposed to the disease.

"It just highlights the urgency of being able to really identify people who were exposed to this group and get them screened," Davis said.

This outbreak is concentrated among people experiencing homelessness. Davis said as many as 170 people may have been exposed to TB.

"Because of that it has required more resources than our regular day-to-day can provide, and so a declaration of a localized public health emergency was necessary in order to rapidly get the resources that we need to respond to this outbreak effectively," she said.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that spreads through the air. Symptoms can include lingering cough, chills, night sweats and weight loss.

The particles are inhaled, but Davis said it takes long term exposure for someone to get sick.

"So you really have to be around somebody for a prolonged period of time in order to really get that infection from them, so we see it a lot in like households and congregate settings and things like that," she said, stressing that the risk to the general public is low.

Tuberculosis is very treatable with the right medication. Davis said anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to the disease should contact the health department at (562) 570-7907.