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Tuberculosis In Prisons

Health Newsfeed # 1458

It’s no secret that prison inmates face health threats behind bars that equal anything they face in the streets.

It could be a violent assault, or rape, or the outbreak of a highly infectious disease. That happened in South Carolina a couple of years ago, when 31 inmates came down with tuberculosis. TB is transmitted by air, jumping person-to-person with little trouble. In close quarters such as a prison, an outbreak is something to dread...but also to prepare for. The South Carolina experience has corrections officials nationwide calling for stricter safeguards, including annual TB testing of prison health care workers. Johns Hopkins tuberculosis expert Dr. Bill Bishai says improved tracking of inmate health histories is a good idea, too.

Our prison system often moves inmates around for both security reasons and legal reasons. So, we need to work to keep the patient’s records with them as they move. And I think that’s going to be a future challenge for these kinds of institutions. :16

Tuberculosis is becoming more deadly and drug-resistant over time.

At the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, I'm Tom Haederle reporting.

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