Tuberculosis outbreak taking a toll in Atlanta homeless shelters

By Allison Rubenstein,

Public health officials are currently working to contain a tuberculosis outbreak in Atlanta homeless shelters.

Nancy Nydam, spokeswoman of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said that so far, 47 people have contracted the deadly disease, including two volunteers, as reported by Reuters. These victims were all connected to four shelters in Fulton County. Three homeless people passed away after becoming infected.

Though the airborne disease is transmissible through coughing or close contact with an infected person, the medical director of Fulton County assures Atlanta residents that they have no reason for concern. He explained that contracting tuberculosis requires close and prolonged contact in a confined space for at least eight hours, according to CBS46.

But the homeless population is more vulnerable to tuberculosis than is the general public, and individuals moving from one shelter to another may spread the disease.

“We are doing everything we can to expand, enhance, and intensify whatever it is we can do to prevent the spread of contagious disease in this facility,” said Anita Beaty, who works for the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

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