Meridian firefighters test positive for tuberculosis antibody

Published 1:13 am Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fire Chief Jeff Homan says 12 Meridian firefighters have tested positive for the tuberculosis antibody during routine physicals.

Homan said Wednesday that three firefighters tested positive last year, and nine tested positive in the past couple of months.

The city currently has 102 firefighters.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We’re wondering and trying to figure out where they would have been exposed to it,” Homan said. “At least 80 percent of our calls are EMS calls, but we don’t know if that is when it happened.”

Homan said the 12 firefighters are not on the same shift or at the same firehouse. He said the firefighters are being treated with medications as a precaution.

Dr. Rebecca James of the Mississippi Department of Health said there are two or three active cases of tuberculosis in Lauderdale County and none of the firefighters who tested positive for the antibodies came into contact with those infected.

James said no precautions need be taken when coming into contact with those who have tested positive for the tuberculosis antibody. She said 5 percent of the general population — those who aren’t involved in medical care — test positive for the antibody.

Of those, she said, only 10 percent have a lifetime chance of developing tuberculosis. She said symptoms include a cough, night sweats and weight loss.

On the Net:

Mississippi Department of Health,