MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Florida TB testing finds 19 additional cases

The Florida Department of Health reported on Friday that an additional 19 people have tested positive for tuberculosis, bringing the total number of cases identified to 387 since July 12.

Health workers have been locating and testing people from a priority list, including people that might have come into contact with the disease causing bacterium. Bonnie Sorenson, the incident commander for the investigation in Duval County, said that 3,188 people have been tested since July 12. Three of the positive tests were determined to be the active form of the disease, the Florida Current reports.

A positive test result determines if the bacterium that causes TB is in a person's body. An additional test shows if the case is active or latent. If latent TB goes untreated it can become active and contagious.

In the past week, the Department of Health has located 24 additional people on the priority list created in April by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The list includes 2,100 people believed to have had direct contact with or be in the same location as a contagious person. So far, the department has tested 1,379 people on the list, according to the Florida Current.

In April, the CDC reported that a TB outbreak in Florida was linked to 13 deaths and was centered within Jacksonville's homeless population. The federal agency referred to the outbreak as among the worst occurring in the U.S. in the past 20 years.