Court Ordered TB Treatment in Seattle & King County

On October 23, King County Superior Court in Washington issued an order for home detention and treatment of a potentially contagious individual infected with tuberculosis (TB). TB is treatable with antibiotics, although the treatment generally lasts for months and may start with an isolation period to prevent the spread of the disease, which can be threatening and challenging to infected patients. This particular patient completed his initial TB treatment at the beginning of 2015, but failed to reliably continue to take medication after leaving home isolation, increasing the risk that the bacterium he was carrying might develop resistance to the treatments. To convince him to continue treatment to improve his own health and protect the community, it became necessary to take more drastic steps than usual. While court action is a rare occurrence, it also highlights the ongoing, active role of Seattle & King County’s TB control program.

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About Christina Baum

Christina Baum serves as a Senior Program Analyst for infectious disease at NACCHO. Her work includes projects on surveillance, epidemiology, and emerging infectious diseases.

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