Following the March 13, 2014, announcement that two former inmates of Howard R. Young Correctional Institution (HRYCI) were diagnosed with active TB disease, the Division of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Correction (DOC) have been working closely together to respond to the situation. DPH is offering free screenings and treatment to former inmates who may have been exposed to TB while at the correctional facility.
This Alert is to inform you that DPH, in collaboration with DOC, has identified possible contacts among former inmates that have been released into the community, and are actively reaching out to these individuals to set up appointments at DPH clinics for TB testing.
As a result of this activity, you may receive calls from the public and patients with questions about TB, and from some of the affected individuals who may have questions about testing. DPH may also reach out to you for help in tracking down some the individuals if they are your patients.
Should any patients identify themselves as former correctional inmates seeking TB testing based on possible exposure, DPH asks that you alert us at the TB Elimination Program at (302) 744-1050 and request that the patient call the same number to schedule a screening. This will allow DPH to monitor the situation and ensure that all former inmate testing results are documented as part of the HRYCI response.
Although Delaware has enjoyed a low incidence of TB for many years, the Division of Public Health wishes to remind health care providers that TB continues to be a threat.
TB as a differential diagnosis should be considered early if individuals in the following categories present with a compatible clinical picture. (Note: this is not an exhaustive list. For further information visit www.cdc.gov/tb.)
Symptoms of Active TB include but are not limited to:
Whenever pulmonary TB is considered in the differential diagnosis in inpatients, they should be placed in an Airborne Infection Isolation room (AII) as soon as possible, pending definitive diagnosis. Immediately using an AII room will save time and eliminate the need to locate, test, and treat staff and patients that may otherwise have been exposed.
Active TB is a reportable illness in Delaware, and the majority of cases are treated by specialists in DPH’s TB Clinics. Patients should be referred to DPH, unless conditions require hospitalization; in which case the TB clinics should be notified of the patient’s diagnosis as soon as possible, and while the patient is still hospitalized.
Treatment of culture-positive TB is based on drug sensitivity, usually with a combination of four medications given by directly observed therapy (DOT) over a period of several months. DOT is legislated in Delaware for all active TB cases.
To report a case of active TB, contact the TB Clinic in your county.
Delaware Division of Public Health TB Elimination Program (302) 744-1050.
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