Tuberculosis Outbreak Confirmed in Long Beach California

Long Beach tuberculosis outbreak includes 14 people and 1 death
long Beach CA
by Lisa Larsen
Los Angeles (Precision Vaccinations News)

The City of Long Beach recently issued an official statement regarding a Tuberculosis (TB) outbreak.

On May 2, 2024, City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis declared a local public health emergency to strengthen the City's preparedness and ability to respond to a localized TB outbreak.

Several individuals associated with a single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel in Long Beach have recently been identified with TB disease.

As of April 29, 2024, 14 cases of TB disease have been associated with this outbreak; nine people have been hospitalized during their illness, and one person has died.

People staying at the SRO hotel during this outbreak or who could have otherwise been exposed to this respiratory disease have been or will be contacted by the Health Department.

The population at risk in this TB outbreak has significant barriers to care, including homelessness and housing insecurity, mental illness, substance use, and serious medical comorbidities. 

In an April 2024 analysis of TB incidence rates for racial/ethnic populations in the U.S., the disease incidence rate ratios were 14.2 higher among younger American Indian or Alaska Native females.

According to the City's press release, the risk to the general public is low.

Long Beach has a population of about 450,000 and is located 24 miles south of Los Angeles, CA.

Approximately 20% of all TB cases in the United States are reported in California. The California Department of Health reported a 9% increase in TB cases in 2023 (2,113). 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported 9,615 TB cases were provisionally reported by 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2023, representing an increase of 16% compared with 2022.

The Long Beach Health Department's TB Control Program treats everyone with TB disease affected by this outbreak and provides temporary housing, food, and transportation as necessary.

As of 2023, the CDC recommended testing persons at increased risk for TB infection as part of routine health care using TB blood tests, when possible, and prescribing a short-course treatment regimen if a diagnosis is made.

Treatment for TB disease requires months of multiple medications, and medicine is given under direct observation by TB Control staff.

TB is a vaccine-preventable disease with the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, but vaccinations are generally not offered in California. The CDC recommends speaking with a local healthcare provider about TB vaccination options.

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Article by
Donald Hackett