Some inmates quarantined while officials wait for remainder of results
There are more positive tuberculosis tests from people exposed to an inmate at the Brunswick County Jail. Inmates who’ve tested positive have been quarantined while health officials await the results of the rest of the tests.
About 400 people in all have been tested; that includes all jail employees, inmates and even lawyers who’ve been in contact with inmates.
One attorney, Grayson Cheek, is in and out of the Brunswick County Jail about four or five times a week, enough to bring him to the Health Department for a TB test.
Earlier this week, an inmate at the jail tested positive for the disease, and he’s considered contagious.
The Health Department learned of the disease when a former inmate tested positive, and indicated his cellmate as the possible source.
The current inmate has been transferred to a facility in Raleigh that is equipped to treat him.
The Health Department has tested everyone to come in contact with anyone in the jail.
“We want to test all these people, we want to get them treated, and once that’s done the risk goes away. But until we do that, yes there’s risk,” said Brunswick County Health Department Director Don Yousey.
Both the Sheriff’s Office and Health Department have take precautions to keep the spread of TB at bay.
Positive inmates have been quarantined. Officials say its concerning but not a crisis.
A positive TB test doesn’t mean you have it. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world’s population is infected with the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.
It is only considered contagious, and active, when it reaches the lungs.
By state law, the jail is not required to test inmates before they’re incarcerated, something that will likely change going forward. “The Sheriff feels, and I think I agree, that we test everybody in the future going into the jail with a skin test and ask them the questions,” Yousey said.
At last check, more than half of the 400 administered TB tests have been read. About 10 percent have come back positive, but the Brunswick County Health Department expects that number to decrease, as more tests are analyzed.
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