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L.A. Now Live: Tuberculosis outbreak on L.A.'s skid row

February 22, 2013 |  8:15 am

Times staff writer Anna Gorman will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. on Friday to discuss what public health officials are calling the largest tuberculosis outbreak in a decade in Los Angeles.

Officials say 11 have died since 2007. Sixty of the 78 cases were among homeless people who live on and around skid row.

Scientists have recently linked the outbreak to a tuberculosis strain that is unique to Los Angeles, with a few isolated cases outside the area.

"This is the largest outbreak in a decade," said Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "We are really putting all of our resources into this."

Health workers have identified about 4,650 people who were probably exposed and are trying to track them down for testing and treatment. Local and federal officials are particularly concerned because the cases are linked to one relatively small geographic area and one vulnerable population. But officials are concerned that the outbreak could spread beyond skid row if action isn't taken.

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