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Mississippi DOC Guts TB Program

For many years the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has led the nation in controlling tuberculosis (TB) in its prison system. This was accomplished by giving chest x-rays to all incoming prisoners to determine whether they had the disease. Unfortunately this practice has been terminated to save money.

Now the MDOC uses a skin test where a serum is injected under prisoners? skin, turning the skin red if the prisoner has TB. The problem is that the skin test, according to a recent British study, could result in up to 65 percent of TB positive people getting the wrong treatment if no other testing is done. The skin test simply isn?t accurate.

Even so, the MDOC?s chief medical officer, Dr. Kentrell Liddell, decided in June, 2006, that the skin test is all that will be given to incoming prisoners from now on. She made this decision knowing that TB, an airborne disease, spreads 10 times faster among prisoners because of the close proximity in which they?re housed.

But Mississippi prisoners may avoid being sacrificed to TB by uncaring prisoncrats yet. This is so because there is a new machine that produces accurate test results, and, in the near future, may be cheap enough to use for prisoners.

Source: Clarion Ledger

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