Casino Tuberculosis Outbreak Sparks Urgent Testing Drive

Health officials in California have issued a warning regarding a tuberculosis outbreak linked to a casino. The Contra Costa Health Department has advised anyone who has spent time at the California Grand Casino in Pacheco, Calif., since 2018 to undergo a tuberculosis test. This precaution comes after 11 individuals, including both casino employees and patrons, tested positive for the illness.

Tuberculosis, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control, spreads through the air from one person to another. When a person inhales TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, the bacteria can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Symptoms of TB include a persistent cough lasting three weeks or longer, chest pain, and coughing up blood.

Meera Sreenivasan, the deputy health officer for Contra Costa County, emphasized the importance of taking precautionary measures, stating, “We are making this recommendation now because there is new evidence that TB may have spread among people who spent time at the casino from 2018 to 2023.” She further added, “TB can live inside someone for years without showing signs of its presence. That is why it’s important to take a test, even if you do not feel sick. TB can cause serious illness, but it is treatable and curable with medicine, especially when caught early.”

In response to the outbreak, health officials have taken swift action, reaching out to over 300 individuals who may have been exposed to active TB at the casino. They are working closely with the management of California Grand to provide health education to the staff and to encourage testing for anyone who may have been in contact with the contagious individuals. The aim is to contain the spread of the illness and prevent further cases of tuberculosis.