DPHSS to investigate possible tuberculosis exposure at GMH

The old and dilapidated Guam Memorial Hospital will be replaced by a new hospital. (PNC file photo)

The Department of Public Health and Social Services will be conducting an investigation into a possible tuberculosis exposure at the Guam Memorial Hospital in the coming week, according to DPHSS Director Linda DeNorcey.

The possible TB exposure was detected after an autopsy conducted by Dr. Philip Dauterman, who is the current acting medical examiner. In an interview with PNC, DeNorcey said an investigator from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct the investigation next week.

“The TB program will be headed by our US CDC investigator and we will launch a total investigation and an interview first of all with Dr. Dauterman. That will be this coming week and then we will do a full environmental assessment of the facility where the autopsy was done and identify if there is indeed an exposure, then we will launch testing that will be done on all of the individuals, including Dr. Dauterman. PPD skin tests, chest Xrays, and sputum. If it tests positive, then therapy will be initiated,” DeNorcey said.

DeNorcey also provided an overview of the protocol that public health follows after a possible exposure has been detected.

“When this happens, we have to notify all parties involved and get them to be scheduled. Our protocol is to launch an investigation within a certain time period. At this point in time, we are trying to get all of the parties involved and of course, we have to schedule it so, it also depends upon the time that they have available,” DeNorcey said.

Public health oversees and administers Guam’s tuberculosis control program.