McCreadie requests for free TB screenings - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

McCreadie requests for free TB screenings

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - As testing for tuberculosis continues at the Department of Corrections Senator Brant McCreadie has sent a letter to the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Health expressing concern for the families and individuals outside the prison's walls who may have possibly been exposed to TB.

"When we heard that it was one detainee and then it went from one to 60 overnight I think that raised red flags and concern buttons were pushed and that's what's concerning me right now it's the safety of people outside most especially our children," said the senator. Finding it to be the most responsible and right thing to do Senator McCreadie is requesting that Public Health offer free tuberculosis screening for the protection and safety of those who may have been exposed. He adds that Gillan and Department of Labor Manny Cruz are in support of the safety measure. However putting that into action may not be as easy as there are scarce resources and limited funds.

TB program administrator Cecilia Arciaga said, "As Public Health normally when we have a case of active TB we do the consecutive circle approach that is the inner circle of contacts and then if we find a good number with a positive skin test or another case of TB b that's when we expand the contact investigation. "And again not because somebody at DOC was diagnosed with active TB it doesn't necessarily mean that anybody that walks in there or is in contact with any of the inmates or the staff would pose a risk to anybody visiting facility no it doesn't work that way."

And while concerns were raised by Senator Brant McCreadie for the safety of family members outside the prison walls Arciaga at this point says there is no testing needed.

Meanwhile DepCor spokesperson Jeff Limo says DOC director Jose San Agustin agrees and endorses the safety measure however primarily at this point their focus is trying to complete the baseline for the facility. He adds that after meeting with DOC's medical director they have received results for 26 out of the 51 inmates that underwent chest x-rays. The rest are pending. "Out of the 51, 26 were returned out of that 26, 19 have been cleared meaning their x-rays have been cleared and seven of them need more testing that's very unclear at this point why they have to go through a second x-ray or perhaps more testing for that matter," he said.

At this time Limo says he can not disclose if the x-rays are positive. In addition 15 officers also received x-rays of those 8 were cleared, two are pending additional testing while the x-rays for the remaining five are still waiting to be read.
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