Possible tuberculosis exposure under investigation at St. Lucie County Jail

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health and the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office are investigating a possible tuberculosis exposure at the St. Lucie County Jail.

A person in Fort Pierce tested positive for tuberculosis when he was admitted to the jail, according to the Health Department.

Follow-up testing for TB was done at the jail on August 12th and the prisoner tested negative for TB, authorities said.

The prisoner did not display any signs or symptoms associated with active TB, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office officials.

The prisoner was in custody at the St. Lucie County jail from Aug. 3rd until Sept. 25th.

The Health Department in conjunction with the Sheriff's Office and Corizon Medical are now trying to determine if any TB exposure occurred while the prisoner was in the jail.

They are focusing on testing people who had direct contact with the infected prisoner.

"The health and safety of staff and inmates are a top priority, and we are doing everything necessary to address the situation in cooperation with the Sheriff's Office," St. Lucie County Administrator Larry Lee said in a written statement.

In those who develop an active case of TB disease, symptoms may include constant coughing for more than three weeks, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and sometimes coughing up blood.  TB is a treatable and curable disease.

A person with TB can pass it to others through airborne particles most commonly through coughing. It is not spread through direct contact with surfaces or eating utensils.

For more information on tuberculosis visit www.cdc.gov/tb .

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