An inmate of an Eastern Kentucky jail tested positive for tuberculosis on Wednesday, causing close to 300 people to be tested for the disease to prevent it from spreading.
Kristy Bolen, a spokeswoman for the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department, said that the man was getting a routine medical pre-screening at the Boyd County Detention Center when he told a nurse he could be infected. The lab results on the unidentified inmate confirmed the diagnosis of TB, Associated Press reports.
“The patient has now been put in isolation and is being treated for TB,” Bolen said, according to the Independent. “The inmate was transported to King’s Daughters Medical Center for care.”
The state lab in Frankfort confirmed the TB diagnosis on Thursday.
The inmate was in jail for charges connected to the manufacture of methamphetamine. He is being guarded by two jail deputies.
The facility will administer tuberculin skin tests to approximately 220 inmates who were at the jail concurrently with the infected inmate, as well as administering the test to approximately 50 law enforcement officials, detention center staff and any others who may have also been exposed to the disease, the Independent reports.
“We have a protocol for TB investigation that we use, where we look for close contacts,” Bolen said, according to the Independent. “Close contacts are anyone who is within three feet for a pretty long time. So right now we are looking for those individuals and doing the appropriate skin tests to find out if they have been infected with TB.”
Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that can spread through the air from one person to another and can attack the lungs, brain, spine or kidneys, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.