Florida Times-Union (09.01.12)
Just one more active TB case has been found after virtually all of Duval County’s homeless individuals were screened for the disease, John Armstrong, the state’s surgeon general, said Friday. More than $185,000 has been spent on the six-week TB investigation among Duval County’s homeless population, and a $250,000 supplemental CDC grant still awaits approval.
“The Florida Department of Health continues to make strong progress toward completing the tuberculosis cluster investigation in Duval County,” Armstrong said. “I must emphasize that the people of Jacksonville and Duval County remain safe.”
Since July 12, more than 3,000 people have been tested for TB in Duval County as part of the investigation. In Jacksonville, 99 percent of homeless people now have been screened, Armstrong said. Of those tested, 311 had results that were positive, though that does not mean they have active disease. The health department offers treatment for latent TB to prevent it from becoming active. This year so far, 16 active Duval TB cases have been tied to the FL 0046 strain. About 55 percent of the contacts of active FL 0046 cases have been tested so far.
“This population of the homeless moves, and they have no known addresses and often do not wish to be found,” said Armstrong. “That requires a different kind of activity than a general screening of the population.”
Beginning Tuesday, the state will take over the investigation in order to ensure the county Health Department can focus on regular and essential services, said Jessica Hammonds, a spokesperson for the state health department.