SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- After screening more than 700 personnel who were considered to have been in close contact with a Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 Sailor embarked aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) who was recently diagnosed with active tuberculosis, the Navy decided July 22 they would expand the screening to include the entire ship’s crew, air wing and civilian guests who returned home from deployment aboard Reagan July 6.
“While this isn’t a medical emergency,” said Assistant Force Surgeon, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Capt. Frank Chapman, “the commanding officer of USS Ronald Reagan, Capt. Terry Kraft, thought it prudent to begin screening his entire crew as soon as possible to identify everyone who may have been infected and begin any necessary treatment.”
“Our goal is to test all ship’s personnel by next Friday, July 28,” Kraft said.
“Our initial screening of air wing and ship personnel and civilian guests of the Navy, which began on July 18, showed approximately 4.4 percent (34 of 776) of those tested positive for TB; however these folks are not showing any symptoms of an active infection and are not contagious. We want to treat them as quickly as possible, however, to ensure they don’t get sick and/or spread the infection to anyone else,” said Chapman.
“In the Navy, we have a low incidence of active TB because we aggressively screen all of our personnel in deployable commands every year. On our aircraft carriers in 2003, we had no cases of active TB,” said Chapman.
The air wing Sailor who was originally diagnosed with TB was released to his own home July 19. He is being treated with antibiotics and will remain in quarantine until he is no longer considered infectious. His condition is being closely monitored by the San Diego County Health Department and the U.S. Navy.
Ronald Reagan returned home from its maiden deployment July 6. During the final phase of the cruise, approximately 4,800 Sailors were embarked. Additionally, approximately 1,200 civilian friends and family guests joined Reagan for her cruise from Hawaii to San Diego.
The Navy takes the healthcare of its guests and service members very seriously. Naval Medical Center San Diego and Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 5, based in San Diego, are working with Commander, Naval Air Forces and the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services to contact 1,200 civilian guests to coordinate their screening and any necessary follow-on care.
At this time, dependents of service members attached to Ronald Reagan and CVW-14 during their deployment are not considered to need testing.
For information regarding tuberculosis, please visit NEPMU 5’s Web site at www.nepmu5.med.navy.mil or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov/NCHSTP/TB/faqs/qa.htm.
For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.