County jail inmate in Kent diagnosed with infectious TB, contacted at least 66 other prisoners, unknown staff
SEATTLE — An inmate at the King County Jail in Kent was recently diagnosed with infectious tuberculosis and had been in contact with at least 66 other inmates and staff between Nov. 20 and March 1, Public Health — Seattle & King County announced Wednesday.
As a result, the county is working with jail staff to identify and screen exposed individuals, officials said.
“As a precaution, Public Health staff identified individuals who may have had ongoing exposure to the person with TB. At least 66 inmates with ongoing exposure were identified; staff exposures are currently being determined. These people are being screened to determine if anyone has symptoms of active TB.”
The patient in the King County Jail with active TB disease is receiving treatment, and is currently not a risk for infecting others, Public Health said.
“Most cases of active TB are readily treatable with antibiotics that are commonly available; treatment typically takes six to nine months. Drug-resistant strains require different antibiotics and may include a longer course of treatment (up to two years),” the department said.
“TB is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that are passed from person to person through the air. TB is not easily spread; it’s much harder to spread than the cold or flu,” Public Health said.