Guam – An internal affairs investigation has been launched to determine how an active case of Tuberculosis (TB) made its way into the Department of Corrections after 60 detainees and personnel tested positive for exposure to TB this week. The testing of 187 contacts followed the hospitalization of a detainee who tested positive for active TB earlier this month.
DOC has also cancelled all visitation hours until further notice.
TB Program Manager for the Department of Public Health and Social Services, Cecilia Arciaga says a positive PPD Skin Test result does not necessarily mean a person has TB, only that they’ve come in contact with an active case of TB sometime in the past.
“So even with the 60 count that was given out by doc it doesn’t necessarily mean that they got it from this active case in the facility,” Arciaga explained.
DOC Internal Affairs Officer Jeff Limo says each of the detainees who tested positive have been quarantined until further testing determines whether they have an active case of TB or not.
“We have contained the 28 pretrial detainees to a dome area that is specifically for them away from those who tested negative,” Limo told PNC. “The other 23 inmates that are sentenced have their own cubicle that they’re assigned to. As far as the nine personnel that tested positive, two had already came back cleared. The still pending out they will not return to work until they’re cleared and the director will be notified about that.”
Meanwhile an internal affairs investigation has been launched to determine how the case of TB got to the prison as every detainee is required to have a PPD test within the first ten days after going before a magistrate judge. Limo says the detainee currently hospitalization at Guam Memorial Hospital tested negative after he was confined.
“He was screened from what I got back was he was negative when he came in,” Lima said. “It’s our concern now and that’s the reason why the director has launched an internal affairs investigation.”
Neither Limo or Arciaga were able to tell us what type of TB the detainee currently hospitalized has.
“Its too soon to tell,” Arciaga said.
While 60 positive PPD skin tests does sound alarming Arciaga says there is no reason to panic.
“Its easier to catch a cold than catch tuberculosis,” she said.
Still, the TB Program Manager advises anyone on the island with symptoms of TB to see a doctor right away. Symptoms include a low grade fever, a cough of more than two to three weeks, weight loss and loss of appetite.