Health dept. testing Craighead County jail inmates for TB - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Health dept. testing Craighead County jail inmates for TB

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas' tuberculosis-control officer says screening for the lung disease among 700 Craighead County jail inmates and sheriff's office employees has begun, after a former inmate tested positive for TB.

Dr. Iram Bakhtawar said today that the preliminary results from Monday skin tests suggest that the risk of transmission from the former inmate was very low.

Last week, Sheriff Jack McCann said a former inmate tested positive for TB. McCann said inmates and employees would be tested for the disease and his office sent out letters to more than 1,200 people who were housed at the jail between April 7th and May 22nd, urging them to get tested.

Tuberculosis is a life-threatening infection that primarily affects a person's lungs. It is transmitted by air in nearly all cases, with patients normally coughing particles into the air, where they can float for hours. The disease can be treated successfully.

Bakhtawar says health officials are in the process of analyzing the test results and assessing whether some of those tested would need X-rays to determine if they have TB -- and, if so, if the disease is inactive. She said that process could take days.

 

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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