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TB Trouble at DOE

May 29th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Nearly two dozen people have been tested for exposure to Tuberculosis at
the state Department of Education in Tallahassee, and at least five have
tested positive. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the infections came to
light only after one who tested positive was laid off.

19 people at this Department of Education office have been tested for
TB. Five were positive. The other 14 are being retested. Employees we
asked were reluctant to talk with us.

Darrel Wallace isnt surprised about the fear of retaliation. He was
laid off last week and is fighting his termination.

The issue with me is, one, being fired as a retaliation to my whistle
blower activities, Wallace said.

His concern is that he will lose his heath care after testing positive.

If I lose my health insurance benefits, I cant afford to go out and
have COBRA benefits paid for,” Wallace said. “Ive still got a house to maintain.

A Tallahassee judge spent Friday afternoon listening to testimony about
the TB cases. A state health nurse was quizzed about the investigation.

Isnt it true that the CDC strongly recommends prophylactic treatment
of those people for 12 months? Steve Andrews, attorney, said.

Its encouraged,” Health Dept. nurse Jan Kibble said. “For some people its strongly encouraged.

More than a half dozen other employees from the center were also
expected to tell their stories. Like Darrel, none of them want to be
identified because of the stigma of being exposed to a dangerous disease.

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