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Video: DOH Dep. Sec. Steven Harris on Jax. TB outbreak
A stubborn and deadly outbreak of tuberculosis in the Jacksonville area is prompting Florida to team up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to battle the disease, but state health officials insist the situation is under control. The TB outbreak is linked to 13 deaths and nearly 100 illnesses since 2004, mainly among homeless people. It’s estimated about 3,000 people have been exposed to the contagious disease.
Now state and federal health workers are trying to track down as many of those people as possible to check for symptoms of TB, including cough, fever, sweats and weight loss.
Florida asked the CDC for help with the TB cluster in February but not because the situation was out of control, according to Dr. Steven Harris of the state Department of Health. Harris calls it business as usual. He says the cluster of TB cases did not warrant a public warning because the state did not consider it a public health hazard.