Tacoma woman with TB still at large. Here’s a list of other recent cases of the disease
A Tacoma woman with tuberculosis remained at large Friday. A warrant was issued for her arrest earlier this year after she repeatedly declined to seek treatment and voluntarily isolate herself.
A Pierce County judge once again found the woman in contempt of court at a Friday hearing.
Tuberculosis is an uncommon bacterial infection, but the latest case isn’t the first time Tacoma has grappled with an outbreak. Here are notable cases that have popped up locally in the past several years.
Notable tuberculosis cases near Tacoma
In June, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department launched an investigation into a case of TB confirmed in a man staying at Tacoma Rescue Mission. The department said that there was no risk to the general public.
That September, staff members at Point Defiance Zoo contracted latent tuberculosis, which is not contagious during that period of the infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The facility limited staff and boosted safety protocols.
Health officials stated at the time that there was no concern of an outbreak among the public. They examined the zoo’s elephants to determine if the animals were related to infection. Initially, no evidence supported any connection, but two elephants tested positive for the infection in November.
The last TB case of that year hit MultiCare’s Auburn Medical Center, in which an employee was found to have contracted it. Twenty-seven adult patients were contacted regarding potential exposure, and the families of 26 infants received notice, too. More than 100 staff members in the facility’s Family Birth Center were recommended for testing.
A student at Gig Harbor High School was reported to have been infected with TB in April. TPCHD recommended 10 students and six staff members in contact with the student test themselves for the disease, as well. The News Tribune reported in May that nobody else at the school had contracted the disease.
TPCHD confirmed a case of TB in a Gig Harbor teen in April. More than 100 people, including students and faculty at Gig Harbor High School, were tested for the disease. Results showed no indication others became infected.
Later that year, two students at the University of Washington Tacoma tested positive for TB. In November, the health department contacted more than 230 people in close contact with the infected individuals and advised them to get tested.
An employee at Providence St. Peters Hospital in Olympia was diagnosed with active TB in November. Health officials stated at the time that risk to the public and hospital patients was low. The source of the exposure was unknown.