Atlanta confronts tuberculosis outbreak in homeless shelters
The transient homeless population is especially vulnerable to the disease, caused by airborne bacteria and spread through coughing or close contact with those already infected.
“A homeless person may stay at one shelter one night, but go to another shelter the next night,” said Nydam.
Last year there were 9,588 new tuberculosis cases reported in the United States, which represented a 4 percent decline in the rate per 100,000 people from a year earlier, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is helping to investigate the Georgia outbreak.
Last week, health officials in Georgia sent letters to the churches operating shelters, explaining the symptoms of the disease and how it is transmitted, Nydam said.
“Only those people who were in close contact with the case need to be tested,” said Alabama health officials in a statement.