TB Scare At Sheriff's Department - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/30/08

TB Scare At Sheriff's Department

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One Lubbock County Sheriff's Deputy is getting some unexpected time off. But it's not a vacation - he's quarantined at his home after testing positive for tuberculosis.

Most importantly you should know there is no tuberculosis outbreak in Lubbock. The Sheriff's Department and University Medical Center believe this is an isolated case of TB. But as a precaution Wednesday, other Sheriff's Department personnel who may have come in contact with the infected deputy were tested and all turned up negative for TB.

This TB case also shut down the Sheriff's Inmate Work Release program for a time Wednesday. Reason being the Sheriff's Department wanted to keep the potential for the TB from spreading to a minimum. And like the deputies tested, all the inmates tested negative for TB and were back to work.

"It looks like we've got an isolated case, one of our officers got to feeling ill and saw his personal doctor. They ran the typical battery tests I think a couple of days ago and verified it. He does have tuberculosis," said Kelly Rowe, Sheriff's Chief Deputy.

So what is tuberculosis? NewsChannel 11 met with Doctor Joe Sasin at UMC to learn more.

Sasin said, "It causes inflammation in the lung tissue and it's contagious but not highly contagious. Generally things like handshakes or clothing, contact with those will not transmit TB. Food with a food handler is possible, but most of the cases are respiratory droplets. Small droplets that come out of a patient when they cough, sneeze, or breathe deeply... Float in the air and are inhaled."

If you feel you may have come in contact with someone infected by tuberculosis, its recommended you go to the ER for testing.

Again, there is currently no tuberculosis outbreak in Lubbock. Health officials say this case at the Sheriff's Office is an isolated case.

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