JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Due to evidence of a 16% increase in tuberculosis cases in the Jacksonville homeless population the Duval County Health Department (DCHD) is conducting outreach investigations.

The DCHD, along with the Florida Department of Health (DOH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Jacksonville Community Tuberculosis Coalition (JCTBC) and the City of Jacksonville (COJ) are working on a community-wide effort focusing on education, prevention and treatment.

Facilities which provide services to the homeless population have been notified, according to a release from the Duval County Health Department. Those facilities are assisting with different forms of outreach and treatment.

The DCHD is testing and treating as necessary any staff, volunteers or clients deemed to be at risk of contracting tuberculosis. Any suspected case is being treated as active tuberculosis.

This investigation is a continuation of efforts by the DCHD to monitor tuberculosis's spread in Duval County. There were 71 confirmed cases of active TB reported in Duval County in 2011. To date, there are 27 confirmed cases of active TB in Duval County for 2012.

Tuberculosis spreads from person to person through the air. It usually affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.

Just because a person tests positively for TB that does not mean they have active tuberculosis, just the TB germ. Other tests, a sputum sample or x-ray, are required to determine if the disease is active. Most cases can be cured easily through proper medical treatment.

The Florida Department of Health has additional information on tuberculosis on its website.