TB Testing Continues At Craighead County Detention Center

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- Better safe than sorry, that from Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann as TB testing continued on Monday.

When it's all said and done, around 1200  inmates and 115 jail employees will have been tested for TB after a former inmate was found to have tested positive for Tuberculosis last week.

"We're trying to handle it as best we can. We were dealt this hand, we sure didn't ask for it," said Craighead County Sheriff, Jack McCann.

TB testing started at the Craighead County jail late last week after Sheriff McCann learned last Thursday that a former inmate tested positive for Tuberculosis.

"He was not in jail when we found out. He had done his time and been released. He apparently went to the health department or his doctor and was tested. That's when we found out. They notified us," said McCann.

Craighead County health officials resumed testing at the detention center on Monday.

TB tests are being given to inmates and personnel in the jail between April 7th and May 22nd.

"We've had some positive tests from the inmates.  Some of those said that they have had it while they were in prison before, and have been treated so they would test positive. Once you have it, you always test positive," said McCann.

McCann says those inmates who tested positive will go in for x-rays to determine if they do in fact have TB, or if they just have a positive test.

McCann says they should know by Friday if they have any new Tuberculosis cases.

Meanwhile, McCann says he's happy with the quick action taken by everyone to get the testing done in a safe and timely manner.

"This is a very serious issue and it can expand into the thousands if something's not done. We wanted to get on this as quickly as we could and handle it the best we can," said McCann.

Tuberculosis is transported by air in just about all cases, while it can be fatal, it is treatable.