NSW Health is undertaking precautionary screening of 22 patients at two Sydney hospitals who may have been potentially exposed to tuberculosis (TB) from a man recently diagnosed with the disease.
The man, in his thirties, had attended Royal Prince Alfred and St Vincent’s Public Hospitals between February and April this year but was only recently diagnosed, as he presented with symptoms not typical of TB.
Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Director, Health Protection, said staff who came into contact with the patient will also be offered precautionary screening.
“TB does not spread easily from person to person and there is no ongoing risk to patients, staff or visitors of either hospital,” Dr McAnulty said.
“Generally, transmission of TB typically occurs after close, prolonged contact with a person who is infectious at the time.
“In cases when a person is infected, 90 per cent of the time this will not progress to TB disease, and this can usually further be prevented with special antibiotics.
“As a precaution however, NSW Health is identifying and directly contacting patients, healthcare workers and others who may have been in contact with this patient.”
The patients are people who were in the same ward as the man while attending Royal Prince Alfred or St Vincent’s Hospitals.
Should any patients or staff have a positive TB test, a chest x-ray examination and specialist medical review will be arranged.
While TB is a common disease worldwide, the incidence of TB in Australia is very low, with about 1,300 cases diagnosed here each year. Australia has a long history of successfully containing and treating tuberculosis.
Anyone with concerns can call the following information lines (24 hours, 7 days):
- Royal Prince Alfred Hospital: 1300 266 306
- St Vincent’s Hospital: 1800 901 922
Further information about TB is available on the NSW Health website: