Inmates, families concerned about a prison's response to a major tuberculosis outbreak

A tuberculosis outbreak at Stafford Creek Corrections Center has spurred fears among incarcerated people and their families over whether correctional officials are properly responding to the serious and sometimes fatal infectious disease.

The cluster of 17 cases of active TB disease at the prison have helped drive what state health officials described last week as Washington’s largest TB outbreak in two decades. The state has recorded 70 cases so far this year, The Seattle Times reported.

Some incarcerated at Stafford Creek question whether the state Department of Corrections is capable of handling the outbreak.

The 17 cases disclosed at Stafford Creek are active TB disease cases, according to the state Board of Health. Those people are in stable condition and are receiving medication "per clinical guidelines," DOC spokesperson Tobby Hatley said in an email.

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The DOC has been testing staff and incarcerated people at the prison, Dr. MaryAnn Curl, the agency’s chief medical officer said in a statement last week, providing no further details.

DOC declined to make medical staff or media spokespeople available for phone interviews regarding the outbreak. The agency has not stated how many people associated with the prison have tested positive for latent TB.

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