More than 1,000 tested for tuberculosis in Perry County, Ala.

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More than 1,000 people have been tested for tuberculosis at the Perry County Health Department. (Photo: ABC3340.com)

MARION, Ala. (AP) – Public health officials in Alabama are working to contain a tuberculosis outbreak in southwest Alabama. They used federal money to pay for tests on more than 1,000 people in Perry County, which is one of the poorest counties in America.

Tuberculosis disease is a serious condition, but the ADPH emphasizes it is treatable with medication.

As of January 21, the total number of cases of TB disease reported since 2014 with a connection to Marion is 27.  Of these, 21 are residents of Perry County.

One new patient has been confirmed, and is not in the hospital but is doing well.

Forty-nine patients have tested positive for latent TB infection in Perry County since screening began on January 11.  Most have been started on preventive medicine.  They are not infectious since they do not have the disease.  To date, 1,058 residents of Perry County have been tested for latent TB infection.

Long lines of people have answered the call to get tested.  Each person will be paid $20 to come in and get screened for TB, and another $20 for returning after three days to get the result.  The person will receive another $20 for keeping an appointment to get a chest X-ray if it is recommended, and an additional $100 if the patient is recommended to take medication and completes treatment.

The funding comes through a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  That makes a big difference in Perry County, the birthplace of Coretta Scott King, where the Census shows 47 percent live in poverty and about 15 percent lacked health insurance in 2014.

Report by ABC33/40:

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