An inmate in the King County Jail system was recently diagnosed with infectious tuberculosis (TB) and officials say that some 66 inmates with ongoing exposure were identified, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

The person came into contact with other inmates and staff at times between November 20, 2016 and March 1, 2017, mostly at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Staff exposures are currently being determined.

Individual exposed are being screened to determine for symptoms of active TB.

The patient in the King County Jail with active TB disease is receiving treatment, and is currently not a risk for infecting others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

Health officials say most cases of active TB are readily treatable with antibiotics that are commonly available; treatment typically takes six to nine months. Drug-resistant strains require different antibiotics and may include a longer course of treatment (up to two years).