Lompoc Record (02.04.2014)
The Lompoc Record reported that the Santa Barbara County Tuberculosis Control Program was likely to receive $29,236 from the California Department of Public Health’s Tuberculosis Branch to continue investigation of a 2013 TB outbreak in North County. The North County outbreak investigation already has identified a cluster of nine TB cases, including a multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) case that started an extensive investigation to find and test everyone who had contact with the MDR TB patient.
The funds would supplement an earlier state award that expired on December 31, 2013. Disease Control and Prevention Manager Paige Batson noted that the new funds would pay for an additional fulltime health services aide to continue the investigation, TB testing through the public health services laboratory, and motor pool costs. Batson explained that the time-intensive investigation process could require staff to find, screen, and treat up to 20 contacts for each confirmed case. The number of contacts could be much higher when cases occurred in settings like homeless shelters.
North County TB incidence leveled off at approximately 20 cases annually in the last few years, with 26 cases in 2013. Many of the 2013 cases were unrelated to the outbreak under investigation. The current award would fund the investigation through June 30, 2014. Batson stated that a comprehensive investigation was the only way to stop the spread of TB.