TB Screening Continues at DPHSS for Contacts to Active TB Case

Press Release No. 2017-080

TB Screening Continues at DPHSS for Contacts to Active TB Case

As of September 14th, TB screening of babies and their parents identified as contacts to the active case of tuberculosis (TB) diagnosed in an employee of Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA) who worked in the Nursery, has transitioned from GMHA to the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS).

To ensure continuity of care for these babies following the transition from GMHA to DPHSS, the following is a list of instructions to parents of the babies:

  1. For medication refill, please contact your baby’s primary pediatrician or the Northern Region Community Health Center at 635-4410/7400 or the Southern Region Community Health Center at 828-7516/7517.
  2. Refill your baby’s medication on time before it runs out.
    • Isoniazid (INH) preventive treatment for TB is recommended
  3. If you have not done so, ensure you schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor for signs or symptoms of TB disease.  Signs and symptoms of active TB in an infant include:
    • Cough;
    • Feelings of sickness or weakness, lethargy, and/or reduced playfulness;
    • Weight loss or failure to thrive;
    • Fever; and/or
    • Night sweats.
  1. Babies should obtain TB skin tests at 6 months of age.
    • If the PPD skin test result is negative, then preventative treatment can be stopped
    • If the PPD skin test is positive, continued preventive treatment for TB is recommended for a total of 9 months

Letters have been sent by DPHSS to parents of babies identified as contacts whose telephone numbers were either not in service or otherwise could not be reached by telephone. DPHSS will continue to attempt to cross check other internal systems to get updated information to contact the parent, if available. For those babies who have not yet undergone the initial TB screening, please contact the TB Control Program at 735-7131 or 735-7145.  We do not want anyone to be missed.

Many individuals continue to have concerns regarding the risk of getting TB. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria causing tuberculosis, is carried through the air in infectious droplet nuclei too small for the naked eye (small air-borne particles less than 5 microns in size) which is produced when persons with tuberculosis of the lung or larynx sneeze, cough, speak or sing.  People cannot get infected with TB bacteria through handshakes, sitting on toilet seats, or sharing dishes and utensils with someone who has TB disease.

Children are less likely to spread TB bacteria to others because TB disease most commonly seen in children is usually less infectious than TB disease in adults.  Additionally, a child’s cough is not strong enough to spread the droplets into the air.

Please call DPHSS at 735-7131/7145/7154 for more information and to verify if your baby was listed as a TB contact.  Information about TB is available at www.cdc.gov/tb .