Screening for babies in contact with active TB begins tomorrow


A total of 311 babies exposed to active TB from a GMH employee during the period of April 1 to August 8 will be screened and tested tomorrow.

Guam – Beginning tomorrow, the Department of Public Health in collaboration with the Guam Memorial Hospital will officially screen over 300 newborns who accidentally came into contact with a GMH employee diagnosed with active tuberculosis.

A press release announced that a total of 311 babies exposed during the period of April 1 to August 8 will be screened and tested.

The announcement added that GMH is currently contacting every parent and guardian of the newborns as well as drafting a letter to the individuals if they are not reached via telephone.

For parents whose contact numbers have changed, GMH advises to please call the switchboard at 647-2552 extension number 4 to verify if your baby is on the list of contacts who need to be screened.

The treatment includes “Isoniazid or I-N-H prophylaxis” which is recommended until the baby gets a PPD skin test at six months of age.

The press release explains that if the PPD skin test result is negative, then the treatment can be stopped, but for the babies who have a PPD skin test result that is positive, continued prophylaxis is recommended for a total of nine months.

According to the Department of Public Health, exposure to TB does not immediately result in acquiring the TB disease as it may take anywhere from 2-12 weeks to see evidence of TB infection as shown by a positive PPD skin test reaction.

They advise that a baby less than six months of age should undergo a chest x-ray regardless of the PPD skin test result since a PPD at this age would most likely be negative.

Signs and symptoms of active TB in an infant include: cough; feelings of sickness or weakness, lethargy, and/or reduced playfulness; weight loss, fever; and/or night sweats.

For more information, you can contact GMH at 647-2552 -4.