WHITESBURG, Ky (WYMT) - One Letcher County inmate is in the hospital after contracting tuberculosis.
Health department officials tell Mountain News there have recently been three active cases of the disease in Letcher County, but they say there is no need for the public to worry.
Kentucky River District Health Department officials say when they find out about a tuberculosis case, they contact the individual and find out where they have been and who they have been in contact with.
They say they also isolate the person and try to take them out of society.
Renee Neace who is the health education director at the Kentucky River District Health Department says all three cases are related, meaning they are the same strain of tuberculosis.
Neace says only one of the infected individuals was a Letcher County inmate, and that person has since been taken to a hospital outside of Letcher County.
Health department officials say they are taking all the necessary precautions at the Letcher County Jail to make sure that these cases do not spread.
They say they have tested and notified all of the inmates and staff, and they will be tested again in eight weeks.
"The other two have been on medication for at least the ten day minimum, and actually a lot longer, so they are not contagious at this time," said Neace.
She says the three had been in contact with one another, but she says the respiratory disease that is spread through sneezing or coughing is hard to catch.
"It's not easy, it's actually more difficult than most people would think. You have to be confined in the area with that person for a long period of time," said Neace.
She says the three cases have been isolated, and any person that could have been exposed has been tested.
Kentucky River District Health Department officials say in their seven county coverage area, they usually only see one tuberculosis case a year.
The Letcher County Jailer did not want to comment.