Tuberculosis Outbreak Reported in Perry County
The Alabama Department of Public Health says it’s working to stop a tuberculosis outbreak in Perry County. The department says it will send nurses and investigators to find people with tuberculosis and to provide preventive therapy to people who may have been exposed to it. State health officials say these people are primarily in Marion.
From Jan. 11 through Jan. 29, the Perry County Health Department will give
· $20 to anyone coming in to be screened for TB by the TSPOT blood test.
· Another $20 for returning after three days to get the result.
· A third $20 for keeping an appointment to get a chest X-ray if it is recommended.
· An additional $100 to a patient if it is recommended he or she take medication and treatment is completed.
Perry County is the only local health department that will offer money to patients for TB screening and treatment, according to the state health department.
State officials say people diagnosed with TB in other cities and towns in Alabama are known to be linked to cases in Marion. Specifically, 20 of 26 patients diagnosed since January 2014 are from Marion, four are from the Tuscaloosa area and two are from Centreville, according to the state health department.
This is a case rate of 253 per 100,000 population in the town of Marion. This far exceeds the TB case rate of 2.5 per 100,000 in the whole state of Alabama in 2015. Of these 26 patients, four of them are children. Three adults have died.
Symptoms of TB include cough lasting more than two weeks, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats, weight loss and fatigue. A person may be infected with the TB germ and have no symptoms. Fortunately, patients can be treated preventively before becoming ill.
Testing will be done on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Perry County Health Department, 1748 S. Washington St., Marion. All services are provided at no charge. No appointment is needed for this service.