The first tests for tuberculosis at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown show that about a third of 550 inmates and 10 percent of the prison staff tested positive for the disease, the warden said.
The number of inmates who tested positive for the disease is about twice the number announced earlier by the Maryland Division of Correction, before additional test results became available.
Roxbury Warden Jon P. Galley also said an inmate with an active case of tuberculosis who is suspected of exposing other inmates to the disease has a strain of tuberculosis that is resistant to two drugs.
However, tests showed it was not the same strain of TB that
swept through the New York prison system last year, health officials said yesterday.
Mr. Galley said he expected the overall percentage of inmates who test positive to drop as test results of another 1,300 Roxbury inmates become available.
The first group of about 550 inmates were the prisoners who were in closest contact with the inmate later diagnosed with an active case of the disease, Mr. Galley said.
Mr. Galley said that 9.8 percent of the 437 staff members tested for TB showed positive. Those 41 staff members included both )) correctional officers and non-correctional officers, he said.
Inmates and staff members who tested positive -- which is not an indication of an active case of tb -- began being X-rayed Wednesday for evidence of the disease.
Today, the Division of Correction was to update the extent of the outbreak of tuberculosis in the prison system and detail steps the agency is taking to stem the spread of the disease in the high-risk population.
This year, 11 inmates have been diagnosed as having active cases of the disease at six prison facilities across the state. The most extensive testing has been at Roxbury.
Meanwhile, concerned about the rapid rise of tuberculosis among inmates, the Division of Correction will upgrade special medical isolation rooms for afflicted prisoners in the state's five regional prison infirmaries, said Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, a corrections spokesman.
"The need is certainly there. . . . We're anticipating this need, and that's why this is occurring," Sergeant Shipley said.
Inmates diagnosed with tuberculosis have been sent to Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County, which has the prison system's most modern ventilation system in the infirmary's isolation room, Warden Galley said. But that system, too, will be upgraded, Sergeant Shipley said.
Inmates and staff members who test positive are getting antibiotics that should prevent them from becoming ill and spreading the disease.