Containing the Florida Tuberculosis Outbreak
Health officials in Florida are struggling to contain a tuberculousis outbreak that's been described as one of the worst in 20 years.
It's been blamed for for 13 deaths and 99 illnesses. That includes six children, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Public health officials are coming under fire for not telling the public about the outbreak earlier.
It started in Duval County. In February, the Duval County Health Department officials felt so overwhelmed by the sudden spike in tuberculosis they asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate.
Health officials believed the problem affected only the homeless, so they intentionally did not to not tell the public, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“What you don’t want is for anyone to have another reason why people should turn their backs on the homeless,” said Charles Griggs, the public information officer for the Duval County Health Department.
The Florida Department of Health denies trying to keep the outbreak secret saying as soon as they noticed a spike in TB, they contacted the Center for Disease Control as well as stakeholders in the community.
The April report by Dr. Robert Luo of the
It was withheld from the public until nine days after Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill that shrank the Department of Health.
The bill also closed A.G. Holley State Hospital in Palm Beach County, a hospital where tough TB cases had been handled for more than 60 years.
The hospital, which closed July 2, was one of four tuberculosis hospitals left in the country and the only one in Florida.