Hospital's bioterrorism isolation unit in use for TB patients
When a chest X-ray at a Santa Monica health center revealed a shadow in his lungs, Matthew Kennedy was quickly transferred to a highly specialized tuberculosis ward 25 miles across the county at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar. Rare is normal for the Olive View unit, one of only four such centers in the nation specialized in tuberculosis. The high-tech isolation unit opened last August as part of a $53-million federally funded renovation of the public hospital's emergency room to equip it for a bioterrorism attack. For now, it serves highly infectious or difficult-to-treat tuberculosis patients, reflecting positive and negative crosscurrents in TB medicine: Infections are down dramatically but getting more complicated.
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