Long Beach health officials declared an emergency today because of a tuberculosis outbreak that has killed one person and hospitalized 9 others, according to a statement from the city.

Health officials have confirmed 14 total cases of the disease, and they think about 170 people have been exposed during the outbreak, which they believe is connected to a local hotel.

Health officials said they would not name the hotel publicly to protect people’s privacy, but they said, “The outbreak is currently isolated to a distinct population and the risk to the general public is low.”

“The population at risk in this outbreak has significant barriers to care including homelessness and housing insecurity, mental illness, substance use and serious medical comorbidities,” the city’s statement said.


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Health officials said the hotel in question is single-room occupancy and not affiliated with any city programs that house homeless people in local hotels and motels.

The city’s Health Department said it is contacting anyone who was staying at the hotel during the outbreak so that they can be screened for the disease.

City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis declared the emergency in part because of the large amount of work this will take.

“Screening and treating such a large number of people requires many resources,” the city said, and this is complicated by the fact that many of the people who may have been infected are hard to reach.

Tuberculosis is a treatable but serious lung infection that can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. It’s not as easily spread as COVID-19, according to the Health Department, but this outbreak is occurring in a population that’s especially susceptible to it.

Homeless people, those who use drugs and people living with HIV are all at higher risk, according to health officials.

Long Beach’s Health Department says it is handling treatment for anyone who contracted tuberculosis during this outbreak, including providing them with housing and food.

The disease “requires months of multiple medications, and medicine is given under direct observation by” medical staff, the city said in a statement.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.