A patient at Helsinki’s Women’s Hospital was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis, according to a statement by the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS).
Tabloid daily Ilta-Sanomat reported the case on Wednesday and it was confirmed by the university hospital’s chief medical officer at the gynaecological and maternity unit, Veli-Matti Ulander.
HUS said in the statement that in spite of the diagnosis, there was a low risk of transmission to other patients on the maternity and paediatric wards because the window of exposure was quite short.
Patients running the risk of infection would have been exposed between 27 February and 7 March at ward 61 of the Women’s Hospital as well as the newborn intensive care unit. HUS said that the number of families involved was 15 and that most of them had already been contacted.
The window for the risk of infection is considered to be 40 hours after exposure to the infected person. HUS said that it had been in touch with all of the people affected in this way to discuss follow-up procedures.
Persons exposed to infection for longer periods will be given preventive medication, the organisation said.
HUS is also said to be performing health checks on workers exposed to the infection.
According to the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL, tuberculosis is caused by infection with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium and is an air-borne disease.
Transmission requires long term exposure to an infected individual. The risk of infection is affected by several factors, the most important of which are length of exposure and proximity of contact.