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Duval tuberculosis testing kicks off, targeting the homeless

3:18 PM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In what some call an epidemic, strike teams will work the core city to test homeless people for tuberculosis.

Last year, the city had 71 reported cases and so far, this year there are 27 confirmed TB cases.

The Centers for Disease Control is currently assisting the Duval Heath Department to help identify carriers of the lung disease. The CDC in a report called the outbreak in Jacksonville one of worst it has seen in two decades.

The five-member teams will begin their work starting at downtown homeless shelters and food lines. The health department says the process could take six weeks or longer with more than 2,000 people tested.

RELATED: State senator calls for investigation of Florida TB outbreak

"The question has been who's tested, how many are out there so we are looking to identify and to answer those questions," said Ken Covington who heads up the Duval County TB Coalition.

Covington hopes the testing initiative will help ease people's fears and promote more understanding of tuberculosis.

Health department spokesman Charles Griggs says the massive TB testing campaign was always part of the plan after the CDC got involved following the spike in active cases.

First Coast News

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