Veteran Tests Positive for Tuberculosis - VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
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Veteran Tests Positive for Tuberculosis

December 2, 2015

VA Pittsburgh Notifies 400 Veterans of Possible Exposure

VA Pittsburgh care teams recently diagnosed a Veteran with tuberculosis. Since September, this Veteran visited both a VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Beaver County, Pa., and VA Pittsburgh's University Drive campus in Oakland.

VA Pittsburgh infection prevention officials are sending letters to Veterans who might have recently crossed paths with this patient. These officials recommend that anyone who receives a letter pursue testing for tuberculosis as a routine precaution.

"The chance of developing tuberculosis from this level of exposure is very, very low," said Dr. Brooke Decker, VA Pittsburgh director of infection prevention. "While it is unlikely anyone exposed in this incident will become ill, out of an abundance of caution we are recommending Veterans who receive a letter be tested."

VA Pittsburgh care teams diagnosed the initial patient on Nov. 17. This patient is currently receiving treatment for tuberculosis and is responding well to antibiotics. At this time, VA Pittsburgh doctors have not identified additional cases of tuberculosis linked to this patient and continue to work closely with the Allegheny County health department on this issue.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that most often affects the lungs. Most people exposed to a patient with tuberculosis do not become ill. Only individuals exhibiting symptom—which can include coughing up blood, chest pain, fever, chills and night sweats—are infectious.

VA Pittsburgh offers free tuberculosis testing to Veterans who receive this notification. Veterans can also pursue testing at their own expense through their non-VA physician or via county and state health department offices.

Members of the public with questions about this issue can call VA Pittsburgh's hotline at 412-360-1199.

For more information contact:

Mike Marcus
Public Affairs Specialist
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
michael.marcus@va.gov | 412-822-3479