TB Outbreak Among Homeless in Jacksonville Has One Local Clinic Concerned

By: Lanetra Bennett, Eyewitness News Email
By: Lanetra Bennett, Eyewitness News Email

Tallahassee, Florida- July 26, 2012

Local health officials will start with preventative measures at the Renaissance Community Center. The group came up with a schedule to test members of the homeless community for Tuberculosis.They say outbreaks of tuberculosis are most common in places like the homeless shelter and other facilities where there are a lot of people living in close quarters-that's why they want to stop the deadly disease in its track.

Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection that attacks the lungs, but can spread to other organs.

Lynn Schmidt stayed in Jacksonville for some time earlier this year, and now she's made her way to The Shelter in Tallahassee.
Local health officials are hoping a new strain of tuberculosis doesn't do the same thing.

Doctors say there was a TB outbreak in Jacksonville and they're being proactive to keep that from happening in this region. Reports say an outbreak in Jacksonville killed at least 13 people.

Says Temple Robinson, a doctor with Bond Community Health Center: "Dormatories, prisons, army bunks, if you're working in a place that you consider a petri dish so to speak, you're in close proximity. It's hot, you're in a cubicle with other people, folk are sick, these are the people that need to be tested."

Members from the Bond Community Health Center are collaborating with the Renaissance Community Center to provide free testing to people staying at the homeless shelter.

Says Schmidt, a resident at The Shelter: "We all have been going around losing the weight and coughing a lot. I am concerned for myself. I've been up and down with my weight and having this cough, I haven't gotten rid of it. We're so thankful for the doctor and the Bond Community Health Center."

Testing will begin on Monday and Wednesday at the Renaissance Community Center and the results will be read on Friday.
The administrators say they will continue to do the TB tests every week until they feel they no longer need to.

July 26, 2012- Noon

Health officials at Bond Community Health Center say a new strain of tuberculosis has broken out among the homeless community in Jacksonville. Doctors in our community say they're trying to get in front of it before it becomes a major problem.

Health officials say the outbreak of the new strain of tuberculosis was a pretty significant outbreak. That's why as a preventative measure, the Renaissance Center in conjunction with the Bond Health Center will be conducting tests for anyone who may have been exposed to this new strain of TB.

Health experts from all over the area are meeting Thursday at the Renaissance Center to come up with a testing schedule.

After the meeting, the health officials will announce their testing schedule.

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