In a suburban Seattle county jail, 66 prisoners have been tested for tuberculosis after one inmate was found to be infected with the disease.
The affected inmate had been in contact with the other prisoners and staff from Nov. 20, 2016, when he was admitted to the Maleng Regional Justice Centre situated in Kent, to March 1, when the prisoner was diagnosed with the disease.
Tuberculosis or TB is described as a transferable disease which is caused by Mycobacteruim Tuberculosis (MTB). This ailment mostly affects the lungs but the other body parts can also get affected. The majority of infections related to this disease do not have any indications but some type of TB, like latent TB ,can be deadly if not treated.
The typical symptoms of TB are severe coughing, releasing of blood with sputum, sweating at night, weight loss, and fever. TB is mostly spread with the help of air if the patient speaks, coughs, spits or sneezes.
TB is also linked with malnutrition and congestion which is caused by poverty. Chances of getting affected are high if one has poor living conditions.
There are many risks involved in this disease the first one being that if a person is suffering from TB then chances are high that the patient would be infected with HIV.
The Incident At King County Jail
The infected prisoner has been given antibiotic treatment in the jail hospital. Spokesperson James Apa confirms that he is not a threat to affecting others any longer.
It may take anywhere from six months to two years for him to recover, depending upon the strain of TB which has affected the patient.
Public health officials are trying to find out which of the staff members came in close contact with the patient to warrant testing for the disease. Apa added that there is no sign as of yet that the staff may be infected.
"As a precaution, Public Health staff identified individuals who may have had ongoing exposure to the person with TB. At least 66 inmates with ongoing exposure were identified; staff exposures are currently being determined. These people are being screened to determine if anyone has symptoms of active TB," officials have stated.
TB cannot be transmitted simply by touch or by using normal substances which may have come in contact with the infected person.
To become infected to this disease, one has to be exposed to the infected individual for a long period of time.
In 2015, nearly 98 tuberculosis cases were reported in King County, and every week on an average at least two cases are detected there.