Public Health Obligation to Prevent TB Transmission

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The recent tuberculosis outbreak in Marion, Alabama, has resulted in a controversial public health program paying people to get tested for TB. Although more than 1,000 people have been tested through this program, that only represents 10 percent of the county’s population. While economic incentives are not recommended as the first step in prevention, this is an active outbreak that has taken at least three lives. Additionally, 20 individuals have tested positive for active TB, while 47 have tested positive for latent TB. The need to identify as many infected individuals as possible outweighs any negative consequences of this controversial program.

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