Charleston County Detention Center reports 7 cases of Tuberculosis

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Seven inmates at the Charleston County Detention Center had Tuberculosis between August 2009 and April 2010. Now, the Department of Health and Environmental Control is notifying past cell mates of the infected inmates.

According to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, of the seven inmates, four were discovered to have Tuberculosis after they left the Charleston County Detention Center. Three of the cases are infectious. It is not known how much contact the inmates had with one another because all the inmates were incarcerated at different times and in different parts of the jail.

The sheriff's department said that although the current system at the jail cannot accurately identify all inmates who would have been in close contact with the infected inmates, some cell mates have been identified and will receive letters from the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Anyone who receives a letter should follow the directions contained therein. Anyone else with concerns that they may have been in close proximity with an infected inmate should call 723-3800 ext 4609.

According to the sheriff's office, jails are notorious for being breeding grounds for infectious diseases like Tuberculosis due to the confined, close quarters in which inmates are housed. Additionally, the inmate population is typically sicker than the general population.

Inmates who are booked in and show symptoms of Tuberculosis are tested at intake.  If an inmate is housed for up to fourteen days they receive a physical examination which includes a Tuberculosis skin-test.  The same physical exam is performed on long term inmates annually.

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