By WVUA 23 News Intern Alexa Armstrong

Marion — Thursday evening, the Alabama Department of Public Health and Marion residents gathered in auditorium of Francis Marion High School for a discussion on the current tuberculosis outbreak.

During the past two years, at least 20 Marion residents have come down with the respiratory disease, as well as two in Centreville and four in Tuscaloosa.

But what happened to cause the outbreak?

The health department said tuberculosis is spread after several hours of repeated exposure with someone infected with active tuberculosis, also called TB disease.

A person with active Tuberculosis exhibits symptoms such as fever, night sweats, shortness of breath, chest pains, a lasting cough and sudden weight loss. A person with latent tuberculosis, or latent TB infection, has the same germ seen in active tuberculosis, but does not show any symptoms.

Once someone is diagnosed, anyone who came into contact with that person needs to undergo screening. If those screenings are not done early on, then the disease will be developed within six months to a year.

Often, those who come down with the illness don’t always remember everyone they’ve been in contact with.

The ADPH is offering payments to anyone who goes to TB screening. Patients will receive $20 for a TB screening, $20 for returning to view the results, $20 for completing a chest x-ray if suggested, and $100 for completing any further treatments.

Testing is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Perry County Health Department.

The Perry County Health Department is located at 1748 S. Washington St. in Marion.

For more information, call the Alabama Department of Public Health at 205-664-2470.

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