The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has confirmed that an active case of Tuberculosis has been diagnosed at the Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton.
Samantha Rose, Public Information Specialist with the ADOC, stated in a recent email, “On Jan. 17, a Ventress Correctional Facility inmate, the alpha case, had suspected signs and symptoms of TB. This inmate immediately was moved to a negative airflow isolation cell within the infirmary at Kilby Correctional Facility. Additional testing performed confirmed active TB.”
According to Rose, the ADOC Health Services tracked the inmate’s movement within the dorms and his subsequent contacts at Ventress. As a precautionary measure, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) recommended testing the entire inmate population at Ventress and offered on-site testing for all employees as well.
“The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) proactively is working in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Tuberculosis (TB) Division, to prevent the potential spread of TB at the Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton. The proactive screening, testing, and investigation have been a well-coordinated team approach between ADOC’s Office of Health Services, ADPH, and Wexford Health Sources, the ADOC’s contracted health services provider,” Rose stated.
On Feb. 4, there were 1,182 initial screenings completed, followed by 31 other screenings done on Feb. 12 according to the ADOC. To date, no other active cases of tuberculosis have been confirmed.
Phase one of the screening processes has been completed according to the ADOC, but additional steps will need to be completed before any other cases can be confirmed by the department.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.
With TB, according to the CDC, it can affect a person in two ways. The first way is that a person can be affected is with Latent TB, which is when a person has a TB infection, but the bacteria remain in your body in an inactive state and cause no symptoms. Your body may harbor the bacteria that cause TB, but your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. Latent TB, also called inactive TB or TB infection, isn’t contagious. Latent TB can turn into active TB though so seeking treatment is very important for those with Latent TB; receiving treatment can help control the spread of TB.
The second way someone can be affected is with Active TB. Someone with active TB will be sick with symptoms and can run the risk of infecting others. Active TB can occur in the first few weeks after someone is infected with the TB bacteria or it might take years to occur.
Only a doctor can make the distinction between the two types of TB.