Downtown L.A. TB outbreak: LAPD urges officers to wear masks

Los Angeles police over the weekend warned officers who patrol the skid row area to wear protective masks and minimize face-to-face contact with suspects or the public if there is reason to believe that they are infected with tuberculosis.

The warning, contained in an internal communication to officers and employees in the department’s Central Division, comes after The Times reported that public health officials have launched a new, coordinated effort to contain what they are calling the largest TB outbreak in a decade.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have dispatched scientists to Los Angeles to help local health officials gain a better understanding why TB is spreading and strategies on how to stop it.

Public health officials are searching for more than 4,500 people who may have been exposed to the disease. In all, nearly 80 tuberculosis cases have been identified and 11 people have died since 2007, most of them homeless people who live in and around skid row.

Scientists have recently linked the outbreak to a tuberculosis strain that is unique to Los Angeles, with a few isolated cases outside the area.


Los Angeles Times has the full article

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