4 inmates may have contracted tuberculosis in Georgia prison
ALAMO, Ga. (AP) — At least four inmates may have contracted tuberculosis at a privately run state prison in south Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Public Health tells WMAZ-TV that one case has been confirmed and three are suspected at Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo.
Ryan Gustin, a spokesperson for prison operator CoreCivic, said the first inmate became ill in early May and was transferred to Augusta State Medical Prison for care. Days later, another inmate began displaying tuberculosis symptoms and was also transferred to Augusta.
Gustin said Wheeler medical staff have sought to lower the risk of infection of other inmates and staff by providing medical isolation pods, masks, and serving meals in disposable trays.
Prison staff are also tracing contacts and testing staff and inmates who had contact with those suspected of having tuberculosis.
Gustin said the prison conducts tuberculosis skin tests for inmates every year.
A total of 298 tuberculosis cases were detected in Georgia in 2019, the most recent year with available data. Of those, four were in local jails and seven were in immigration detention facilities, but none was in state prisons.
Wheeler has had one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in the state prison system, with 172 inmates infected by the virus and 13 who have died.