State prison officials said two inmates who tested positive in April for tuberculosis are being treated in isolation at an off-site hospital.
The two male offenders were housed at John Lilley Correctional Center in Boley when they tested positive for the disease. Both are now being held at Lindsay Municipal Hospital for further evaluation and treatment, said Jerry Massie, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Tuberculosis is a common and often lethal disease that attacks the lungs. It is transmittable through the air by its carriers.
Massie said the first inmate was diagnosed April 9 at the Lindsay hospital after a chest X-ray at the prison a week prior raised suspicions he might have active tuberculosis.
The second case was discovered after remaining inmates at the minimum-security prison were tested the following week, Massie said.
Don Sutmiller, chief medical officer for the department, said skin tests indicated 51 inmates and two employees at John Lilley had been exposed to the disease since annual testing the previous spring. Only the two inmates with the full-blown infections required hospitalization, he said.
A tuberculosis infection and the disease will register positive during a skin test, but only the disease — which can transmit infection to others — registers positive during a more intensive chest X-ray.
Sutmiller said 23,045 state inmates were included in routine annual tuberculosis testing that concluded May 7.