Tuberculosis Outbreak in Alabama Prisons

The worst outbreak of tuberculosis in five years has hit Alabama’s prison system, according to a health official. While the state’s prisons have averaged fewer than five cases annually since 2009 and had none last year, nine active cases have been diagnosed so far this year. “This is a very serious outbreak,” said Pam Barrett, director of tuberculosis control for the Alabama Department of Public Health. All except for one of the cases occurred at the severely overcrowded St. Clair Correctional facility (it was built to hold 984 men but housed 1,292 prisoners at the end of May). To stem off the spread of the disease, St. Clair’s is neither accepting new inmates nor transferring prisoners.