- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

MARION, Ala. (AP) - Officials say the Perry County Health Department will offer free tuberculosis screening but is no longer paying residents to get tested or attend follow up appointments.

Alabama Department of Public Health officials said in a release Friday that 1,813 people were tested since Jan. 11. Department officials say 100 people had latent tuberculosis infections and 27 had tuberculosis disease.

Division of Tuberculosis Control Director Pam Barrett has said people with latent infections can get preventative treatment to avoid potentially developing tuberculosis disease and becoming contagious. Symptoms of the airborne bacterial infection include a persistent cough, fever, night sweats and more.

Officials have said an outbreak in the rural Alabama county killed three people since 2011, prompting increased screening efforts in Marion.

Screenings will continue by appointment only beginning Feb. 8.

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