The Current (Florida) (11.09.12)
On November 9, Florida health department officials said that during the past week there were no new reports of a strain of TB—FL0046—that is linked to 13 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted an investigation because of an outbreak of FL0046 in Duval County. In April, a CDC report mentioned that the Jacksonville-area outbreak was the worst that had been experienced in 20 years. Officials report 28 confirmed cases of the FL0046 strain in 2012, with eight of the cases being found during October. Since July, officials tested 1,537 people on a priority list of individuals known to have been in the same location as a person with an active or contagious form of the disease, and they tested an additional 3,570 individuals who may have had contact. The incident commander for the Duval County Tuberculosis Investigation, Bonnie Sorenson, declared on November 9 that 426 of those tested had a latent or inactive form of a TB bacterium, and another 68 individuals had an active case, with 40 being a nonFL0046 strain. According to Sorenson, all of the active cases and 99 percent of the latent cases are being treated with antibiotics.
The Duval outbreak seems to be concentrated in the homeless population. Sorenson said homeless individuals who may have had contact with the TB bacterium in Jacksonville have been traced to more than 40 other Florida counties. Sorenson explained that with the start of colder weather and more homeless people taking refuge in shelters, officials will have a better chance of locating individuals who may have come into contact with the TB bacterium. Service providers often require persons to sign in for services, and the information is given to health officials. Sorenson said officials will continue to locate the 567 people on the high-priority list, while also developing another list of people to contact who may have been exposed to the disease in the past two years. The 28 active cases of FL0046 documented this year compares to 30 cases in 2011 and 10 in 2010.