TB patient back in jail after violating public health safety rules

A tuberculosis patient is back in custody after he visited a professional office in Augusta on Thursday without a protective mask.

Judge Sheryl B. Jolly issued an order for the arrest of Richard Pearre Jr. after learning of the visit. Tuberculosis is an airborne disease.

A hearing is set for Pearre on Monday in Richmond County Superior Court. Jolly can return Pearre to his home or order his commitment to a specialized health care facility.

On May 31, Jolly gave Pearre a second chance to stay in the community when he said he would comply with medical treatment.

The Richmond County Department of Health filed a petition with the court after Pearre refused to comply with treatment in April, a decision that could prove lethal to him and pose a public health danger, according to testimony at an earlier hearing.

State law gives the court authority to have a person who represents a threat to public health arrested and involuntarily committed to a medical facility for treatment.

If a patient stops taking the TB medication before the regimen is finished, he can develop a strain of TB that is drug resistant and can become infectious again.

Adam King, an attorney representing the board of health, said Friday that Pearre only visited one office Thursday and the general public would not have been endangered. Health workers took the necessary precautions at the office he visited, King said.

TB patient gets second chance to comply with medical treatment
Augusta tuberculosis patient who refused treatment to be arrested

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