8/26/08 -- 18:06 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Kaiser Permanente is contacting 960 mothers whose babies may have been exposed to a health care worker in San Francisco who has an active case of tuberculosis.
The worker was assigned to the postpartum unit in the maternity ward of Kaiser's San Francisco Medical Center to care for mothers and infants. Kaiser officials say the infection risk for patients is very low, but testing will be provided along with treatment if necessary.
Kaiser also is notifying 115 employees who may have been exposed.
The Oakland health maintenance organization learned of the worker's infection Aug. 18. The part-time night shift employee worked at Kaiser from March 10 to Aug. 10 and is no longer an employee there. Kaiser has been working on the matter with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
"We feel that this is a low-risk exposure, but we want to be aggressive about identifying any potential contacts," said Dr. Stephen Parodi, chief of infectious diseases for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.
He said that the involved TB strain is a common one that responds well to a regimen of antibiotics. Pediatricians began notifying patients Tuesday.
"We are trying to take a personal approach," Parodi said.
Those potentially exposed are being asked to take a skin test. If the test is positive, further screening will be performed, including chest X-rays.
More details Anyone who wants more information should call Kaiser at (800) 464-4000; information will be posted on Kaiser's Web site at kp.org/newscenter.
This article appeared on page B - 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle