Officials: TB may have come from foreign dairy products - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Officials: TB may have come from foreign dairy products

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A blue sky is seen behind Summerlin Hospital on Oct. 7, 2013. (FOX5) A blue sky is seen behind Summerlin Hospital on Oct. 7, 2013. (FOX5)

Health officials said they believe a woman who was treated at Summerlin Hospital, but later died of tuberculosis may have contracted the illness from foreign dairy products.

According to a report released by the Southern Nevada Health District on Tuesday, a pregnant woman was admitted to Summerlin Hospital in May, where she gave prematurely gave birth to twins. It said one of the twins was kept for treatment in the neonatal intensive care unity.

The mother later died at a southern California hospital, where officials learned she suffered from TB, according to the report. It said that when officials at Summerlin Hospital learned of the mother's death, they moved her baby, identified as Abigail Marie White, that was being treated in the NICU to isolation. The baby tested positive for the illness, and died in August.

Officials said the other baby died two months earlier, but was never tested for tuberculosis.

Since then, officials have contacted parents of children who were also in t he NICU at the time of the infected child. They said 28 people have tested positive for the disease, but only two of them are active cases. All 28 people are receiving treatment, they said.

Investigators said they believe the mother may have contracted the illness from consuming unpasteurized dairy products from central or South America.

"Because it was mycobacterium bovis," said Dr. Joe Iser, chief health officer at SNHD. "She could have gotten that from unpasteurized milk products, probably cheese."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, throwing the bacteria into the air. It is not spread by coming into contact with the infected person or objects they have touched.

The agency said not everyone who is infected becomes sick. Local health officials said people who have been contacted should be tested for the illness.

For more information about treatment clinics or TB, contact SNHD at 702-759-4636 or visit

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