St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital started contacting patients and parents yesterday to inform them that a maternity ward worker tested positive for tuberculosis, possibly inadvertently exposing hundreds of babies to the disease. "We want to assure everyone that we are taking swift and comprehensive steps to address the situation," the hospital said in a statement. "If you were recently a patient at Roosevelt Hospital and are not notified within the next few days, then you were not in contact with the infected staff member."

The employee hasn't been identified, and it's unclear how long the employee had it, but the parents who notified NBC about the infection gave birth more than two months ago. "Few individuals exposed to someone with TB become infected because infection generally occurs after continuous exposure over several hours," the hospital added in the statement. "Still, we are taking the extraordinary precautions that we have to address this issue."

Tuberculosis is an airborne bacterial infection that mostly affects the lungs; it is "extremely curable" if detected and treated. In June, it was reported that there was a TB outbreak in parts of The Bronx (Tremont and portions of the Crotona, Belmont and Claremont sections); in 2008, there was a TB case reported at a Brooklyn elementary school.