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Tacoma TB patient eludes authorities

caption: Downtown Tacoma.
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Downtown Tacoma.
Courtesy of Jennifer Uppendahl and Unsplash

When you think about preventing infectious disease from spreading, Sheriff’s deputies aren’t typically the frontline workers that spring to mind.

But Pierce County deputies are currently on the lookout for a patient at the center of a highly unusual public health case.

For more than a year, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has been attempting to locate and isolate a patient who has a confirmed case of tuberculosis.

The department has repeatedly gone to court to get assistance in tracking this patient down to force her to get medical treatment. Last week, a judge extended a civil arrest warrant in the case.

Matt Driscoll, a columnist and opinions editor at the News Tribune in Tacoma, has been following this case. His recent column on the issue is titled, “Why hasn’t Pierce County’s rogue tuberculosis patient been arrested? No more excuses.”

Soundside talked with Driscoll about the reporting done by himself and Tribune reporter Debbie Cockrell.

Soundside also reached out to the Washington State Department of Health, and spoke with Jay Miller, regional medical officer with the Office of Health & Science, who explained the basics of TB.

You can listen to the entire conversation in the audio above.

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