Man with TB arrested for violating TN law - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Man with TB arrested for violating TN law

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Sean Martin, 38, is arrested for violating Tennessee's tuberculosis control law. According to the affidavit, Martin was taken into custody on Monday and immediately transported to The MED.

The Shelby County Health Department is not talking about specifics in the case because of HIPAA laws, which are made to protect patient identities.

Dr. Helen Morrow with the health department says that if someone is diagnosed with TB, "contact letters" are sent to those who were in contact with the infected patient.

She says oftentimes people may have the TB germ but not have the activated disease. Morrow adds TB is easily transmitted especially with the lung form of the disease.

If a patient is diagnosed with TB or the germ, the patient must receive treatment. Because TB can have devastating effects, she says, there are laws on the books to help them mandate treatment.

"When somebody just absolutely refuses to cooperate, then we issue what's called a temporary hold where they are arrested and held to take their medication," says Morrow.

The Shelby County Health Department offers free services at their TB clinic. Patients there do not have to pay for x-rays, blood work or medications; medications are delivered to the patients as well.

According to the Shelby County Health Department, TB cases in the county have decreased from 64 cases in 2009 to 57 cases in 2012. Cases have gone up in the last year, though: There were 49 TB cases in 2011.

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