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The state health department is investigating three healthcare facilities after a worker was diagnosed with tuberculosis, a potentially fatal disease. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the worker, who was not identified, may have been in contact with as many as 600 individuals between May 1 to Jan. 31. 

 

The department is working with Livingston, Oakland and Washtenaw county health departments to determine the health status of patients and staff who have been in close contact with a healthcare worker.

The worker, who wasn't aware of having the illness, works at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Livingston hospitals and South Lyon Senior Care and Rehab.

The department has not confirmed if any others have been infected but said the worker is no longer working and is receiving treatment for the bacterial disease.

Blood tests and medical treatment are being offered at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston hospitals to affected patients and staff who have been notified that they may have been exposed. 

South Lyon Senior Care and Rehab has provided testing to all current staff and patients, according to the release. 

Tuberculosis is spread through the air from one person to another. There are two forms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: latent TB infection, when people are infected with the bacteria but are not sick, have no symptoms, can't spread the disease but may develop TB if they do not receive treatment; and TB disease, when bacteria become active and the immune system can't stop the bacteria from growing. This form leads people to become sick or become sick years later when their immune system is weakened. 

In 2016, the CDC reported 9,272 new cases of TB in the United States. Of those, 133 cases were reported in Michigan.

Symptoms of TB include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, chest pain, coughing blood, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, chills, fever and sweating. 

For information about tuberculosis, visit Michigan.gov/tb.

srahal@detroitnews.com

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