Thursday, May 18, 2006

Clarification on Tuberculosis Arrests

Eddie Olivarez, CEO of the Hidalgo County Health Department, was on KURV with Davis Rankin this morning. He made some clarifications about the arrests of two men with tuberculosis. The Health Department does everything within their power to provide treatment for tuberculosis for anybody afflicted with the disease. The two arrested men had failed to cooperate with the health care providers for their own care. The Health Department will only go to that extreme "whenever we have exhausted all opportunities and have made all efforts" to help the individual, according to Olivarez. The county does not want to discourage anybody with tuberculosis from seeking assistance as this puts the whole community at risk. The Rio Grande Valley is second to Houston in the number of TB cases in an MSA. However, as a percentage of population, TB is higher in the RGV. A lot of the reason for this is due to the high flow of immigrants through this region. Anybody being treated currently does not have to fear being arrested; that only happens in rare and extreme cases to provide monitored treatment for the individuals.
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