Friday, November 4, 2011

New TB cases reported at Peachtree-Pine shelter

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Say hello to my little friend, tubercle bacillus
  • Say hello to my little friend, tubercle bacillus
Let's hope Occupy Atlanta won't need to change its name to Quarantine Atlanta.

No sooner than it became a temporary base for capitalism protesters, Atlanta's largest homeless shelter has been discovered to be housing several cases of TB — again.

You might recall back in February when CL revealed that the shelter operated by the Task Force for the Homeless had earlier been identified by the CDC as a breeding ground for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis.

The CDC report, which had not previously been made public, indicated that between early 2008 and mid-2009, 12 confirmed active TB cases, six probable cases and one suspected case had all been traced back to the giant shelter at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets.

The report called the situation then an "urgent public health problem."

Well, the bugs are back. Just this week, we learned that county health inspectors have identified new TB cases at the shelter. Here's a statement from Dr. Patrice A. Harris, director, Fulton County Health Services:

There have been new active TB cases at the Peachtree and Pine Shelter and as a result, we have been conducting screenings of facility residents. The management of the facility has been referring clients to us for these screenings. We are carefully monitoring the situation and have provided the management with handout materials and posted fliers for citizens utilizing or visiting the facility so that they are informed as well.

As we explained in our earlier article, active, full-blown TB is pretty rare — even at homeless shelters — because it's hard to catch, relatively easy to treat and even easier to avoid if you initiate a few basic safeguards, such as having adequate ventilation, using bacteria-killing UV lights and screening new residents. But, according to county health officials earlier this year, there was no evidence Peachtree-Pine had done any of those things.

Is there anyone out there who still believes the Task Force should remain in business?

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