The Galveston County Health District will offer free Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV screenings at two locations on World TB Day, Friday.

There are currently 31 county residents with latent TB infection or active TB disease being treated and monitored by the health district’s TB Control Services. There has been one confirmed case of active TB infection in the county so far this year. There were 13 such cases in 2016, six in 2015, 16 in 2014, 10 in 2013, 18 in 2012, and 16 in 2011.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that are spread through the air from person to person by coughing or sneezing. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. People infected with TB bacteria who are not sick may still need treatment to prevent TB disease from developing in the future.

TB bacteria most commonly grow in the lungs, and can cause symptoms including a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum (mucus from deep inside the lungs), weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.

“If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have TB,” said Eileen Dawley, the health district’s chief nursing officer. “However, if you have the symptoms and fall into high risk categories like working in a homeless shelter or health care facility, or have visited an area where TB is common, it’s important to get tested and see your doctor.”

Screening will be available from 8 a.m. to noon Friday at the following locations:

• Mid-County Annex, 9850 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway, in Texas City; and

• Island Community Center, 4700 Broadway, in Galveston.

TB screening eligibility will occur on-site and includes, but is not limited to: Being symptomatic, having contact to a known active case of TB, having a history of a positive skin tests, having HIV, being immunocompromised, and living or working in a congregate setting.

The health district also will provide educational resources on and during the event. For more information, call 409-938-2217 or 409-938-2218.

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