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February 21, 1977

Tuberculosis Transmission in a Large Urban Jail

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Cook County Hospital, Chicago (Drs King and Geis), and Cermak Memorial Hospital, Chicago (Dr King).

JAMA. 1977;237(8):791-792. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270350051021

Following diagnosis of moderately advanced tuberculosis in an inmate of Cook County Jail, tuberculin testing was performed to assess the degree of transmission of tuberculosis within the jail. Twenty-three percent of inmates exposed to the index patient were initially found to be tuberculin positive. Subsequent tuberculin testing three months later demonstrated a 71% rate of skin-test conversion in previously tuberculin-negative inmates exposed to the index patient. The rate of infectivity of tuberculosis within a jail is analogous to a household situation. Despite major obstacles, modern programs of tuberculosis screening and treatment are essential in correctional institutions.

(JAMA 237:791-792, 1977)