86 people brought back in for further TB testing

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86 people brought back in for further TB testing

Eighty-six people who were hospitalized last month at the country’s largest hospital, Samsung Medical Center in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, will be called in for tuberculosis tests after a nurse there was diagnosed with the disease Monday, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced.

The latest scare comes less than a month since a nurse at Ewha Womans University Medical Center in Yangcheon District, southwestern Seoul, tested positive for the same disease, requiring 153 babies and 50 hospital employees to be examined.

At the Ewha hospital, nobody tested positive, but in a separate checkup examining latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), two infants and five employees turned out to be positive and are now undergoing medical treatment. LTBI refers to a state of persistent immune response to stimulation by Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens without evidence of clinically manifested active tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization. One-third of the world’s population is estimated to have LTBI, and the lifetime risk of it developing to tuberculosis is about 5 to 10 percent.

At Samsung Medical Center, the 27-year-old nurse who was diagnosed with tuberculosis had been working at a ward covering pediatric hematology and oncology until Monday, the same day she received her test results for a regular checkup that indicated she had contracted tuberculosis. She was immediately ordered to stop working and is undergoing medical treatment.

Among her colleagues, 43 will also be called in for the test. Of the 37 employees who have been checked, none tested positive.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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