Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill this week that establishes safeguards to prevent the spread of tuberculosis in the state’s childcare centers, nearly two years after it was introduced.
State Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, introduced in April 2019 House Bill 210 that passed the House in November 2019, but languished in an Ohio Senate committee until early December.
“Tuberculosis still remains a serious threat to many countries outside of the United States,” said the Hamilton lawmaker. “Ohio must remain vigilant in keeping our childcare centers safe and healthy to ensure this disease does not make a comeback.”
Under the bill, prospective employees for licensed daycare and preschool centers are required to be screened for tuberculosis as part of the hiring process. In addition, prospective employees who meet certain criteria outlined in the bill must be tested for the disease.
The legislation also allows local health departments or the Ohio Department of Health to receive public recipient information from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for purposes of a public health investigation.
Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that typically attacks the lungs, but may attack other organs as well, according to testimony from the Ohio State Medical Association.
“TB is an airborne disease, meaning the bacterium spreads through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or speaks,” according to written testimony by Monica Hueckel and Joe Rosato, of the OSMA.
They say a person may have either a latent or active TB infection. In latent TB, the individual is asymptomatic and cannot spread TB to others, but can develop active TB without treatment. With active TB, symptoms include weight loss, cough, or fever, and is contagious.