An employee at St. Barnabas Hospital, in the East Tremont section of the Bronx, identified only as a woman, was found to suffer from tuberculosis. She is suspected of exposing over 500 people including co-workers, patients and 200 newborns. It has been identified that the woman worked in the maternity ward, the nursery, the neonatal intensive care unit and the psychiatric ward.

Health officials have decided to disclose the case as they were unable to reach all the people they believe were in risk. They are trying to locate 532 patients, including 238 infants but believe that it was important to reveal the situation in case they miss someone. The officials have asked patients and health workers who had been in one of the wards where the woman worked between Nov. 1 and Jan. 24 to either call the hospital at (718) 960-3624, or the city’s information line, 311.

City health officials announced that tuberculosis is neither uncommon nor highly infectious, and is usually passed from person to person only through prolonged close contacts. It usually strikes the lungs and causes coughing that spreads the bacteria that cause the disease. Active tuberculosis usually proves to be fatal if not treated.

In the city, around 1 000 cases get diagnosed with TB each year. About two-thirds of them are foreign-born people as the disease is more common in other parts of the world.

The infected health worker is foreign born but has not long been oversees. TB is the most common in health workers as they spend so much time around sick people.