28 inmates & detainees get chest x-rays after TB tests - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

28 inmates & detainees get chest x-rays after TB tests

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - With 60 out of 200 people testing positive for tuberculosis at the Department of Corrections the agency along with the Department of public Health are conducting an investigation to determine the source of the illness.

It was earlier this month when a pre-trial detainee housed in one of the domes at the Department of Corrections Mangilao compound tested positive for active tuberculosis. According to DepCor spokesperson Jeff Limo, "That's what triggered us up here at the Mangilao compound was to launch an investigation into the matter which we can get a sight of where this individual was housed at mainly at the dome area or was he transported to a different unit and that prompted the director to make the decision to test everybody."

Out of the 200 people who took skin tests this week  60 tested positive for TB. 51 were detainees and inmates while nine were corrections officers. Over the last 24 hours these positive reactors have been sent to Guam Radiology to undergo chest x-rays.

Aside from waiting for the additional results, DepCor is even more concerned because those who tested positive came from different domes at the compound.

Furthermore the detainee who tested positive for active TB entered the Mangilao facility in October of last year but did not become ill until earlier this month. Using this information internal affairs is trying to identify a base line of containment, how long this individual was in the immediate area and who he was in contact with. The dome is the housing unit for pre-trial and contempt of court detainees serving ten to twenty days. "So we are basing ourselves to how many people within that span between October to present were in and out of the DOC compound," said Limo.

He says CDC and the medical director will be left to handle previously detained individuals as DOC is concentrating on the Mangilao facility to determine whether they will need to test the other satellite units in the compound. He adds that the CDC will also determine when the pretrial detainee actually contracted TB. "A person can test positive earlier this year and then turn negative in PPD reading it is further determined by further tests like x-rays and then after that do they have symptom of tuberculosis," he said.

According to Limo, that is also being looked into by internal affairs. The investigation will also look into the officers that were assigned to the posts between October and present to see if they displayed any signs of illness. He does confirm that when the pretrial detainee first entered the facility he tested negative for PPD during the ten day screening process. In the meantime those who have since tested positive are being separated from other detainees and inmates.

Additional skin tests for everyone else at DepCor is scheduled for later this month.

DepCor is currently waiting for those results but for those that do come back positive DepCor, CDC, and the medical director will work together to ensure those individuals have proper housing whether it be at GMH or an isolation room. As for the DepCor personnel who test positive they will be placed on leave until they are given the all clear. 

As for the results from chest x-rays, Limo says they have not been released yet.

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