California Casino Sees Tuberculosis Cases Emerge Over Several Years
In a concerning development, the California Grand Casino in Pacheco has been linked to a series of tuberculosis (TB) cases that have emerged over the past five years.
Contra Costa County health officials have confirmed that 11 individuals, comprising staff and patrons of the casino, have contracted the disease between 2018 and 2023. The infectious disease is relatively rare in the U.S., with around 8,000 cases a year, and is easily treatable with early diagnosis.
California Grand casino in Pacheco, just east of downtown San Francisco, is a card gaming room in the typical style of many California casino venues. It strenuously affirmed that there are no current contagious cases at the casino, which currently remains open.
“Our foremost commitment is to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. According to Contra Costa Health, none of the linked cases are currently contagious, nor do they involve our staff,” said California Grand Casino spokesperson Becky Warren.
“Additionally, Contra Costa Health has not identified any ongoing sources of transmission at the card room. We are actively collaborating with the county on notifications and testing to uphold public health and safety.”
Public Health Response and Patron Reactions
The news has understandably caused alarm among casino-goers, with many expressing their shock and concern upon learning of the TB cases.
The county has reached out to more than 300 individuals who may have been exposed, and is working with the casino to facilitate education and testing for staff.
“It’s scary. It’s scary to think about,” said Chantelle Coffman, a patron from Brentwood, speaking to local outlet KTVU-FOX 2. “That’s really crazy to hear. That’s really insane. I’ll definitely look into it some more.”
The county’s Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Meera Sreenivasan, has strongly recommended TB screening tests for anyone who has visited the casino in the past five years. The bacteria responsible for TB can remain dormant for a long time, making early detection through testing critical for effective treatment.
However, others were not so bothered by the news.
“Doesn’t sound like it’s cool, but people still here though, so didn’t scare too many people away,” said another patron, who affirmed he had not been told about the TB cases.
Related: California online casinos, rated and reviewed
Understanding TB and Preventative Measures
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs, but can also spread to other organs. It is transmitted through the air when people with active TB cough, sneeze, or speak. Symptoms of active TB include a persistent cough, sometimes bloody, fever, weight loss, night sweats, and fatigue. While TB can be serious, it is treatable and curable with medication, especially when caught early.
Many people who catch the disease may see it remain latent for years with little or no symptoms, and they are not infectious during this time.
Health officials have also highlighted the importance of the correct type of TB test, especially for those born overseas who received the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis. They advise a TB blood test instead of a skin test to avoid false positives. The Contra Costa County Health Department is offering free screening and testing for those without health insurance.
This outbreak serves as a stark reminder of the persistence of tuberculosis and the importance of public health vigilance. Earlier this year, a woman who was a known carrier of infectious TB was arrested and detained for continuing to frequent various Washington state casino venues against public health advice.