By now it is well known that health and hygiene issues for the Occupy movement and their respective encampments abound. But TB? Yes. The home base for Occupy Atlanta has tested positive for tuberculosis and an outbreak could be on the rise.
The Fulton County Health Department confirmed Wednesday that residents at the homeless shelter where protesters have been occupying have contracted the drug-resistant disease. WGCL reports that a health department spokeswoman said there is a possibility that both Occupy Atlanta protesters and the homeless people in the shelter may still be at risk since tuberculosis is contracted through air contact.
“Over the last three months were have been two persons who have resided in this facility who have been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected infectious tuberculosis (TB),” said Fulton County Services Director Matthew McKenna in a written statement to CBS Atlanta. “One of these persons was confirmed to have a strain of TB that is resistant to a single, standard medication used to treat this condition. All person(s) identified as positive have begun treatment and are being monitored to ensure that medication is taken as directed.”
CBS adds that news of the tuberculosis threat could force Atlanta Occupiers to move camp again, which is perhaps not the best way of containing the disease, given how easily it spreads.
Meanwhile, Occupy Atlanta protester Tim Franzen is denying that TB rmight force the group to move its encampment.
"They [the health department] have no data on an outbreak." Franzen told Redding News Review's radio show.
"They have two cases that have been confirmed, but they have both come out of the Fulton County Jail, which is where people get TB."
According to Redding News, Franzen said that he and the other occupiers have no problem spending the night at their home base atop the homeless shelter.
Will something as serious as a TB outbreak give the Occupiers pause to reconsider their detrimental personal hygiene habits? If the recent trend of public defecation and urination combined with close living quarters is any indication, sadly it might not.