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Washington woman with tuberculosis arrested, jailed after refusing to isolate: 'Necessary intervention'

A Washington state woman with tuberculosis has been arrested and jailed after refusing to isolate.

The unidentified Tacoma woman – who was referred to only as “VN” in court documents – was taken to the Pierce County jail and is being kept in a room specially equipped for isolation, testing and treatment, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said in a statement this week.

“We are hopeful she will choose to get the life-saving treatment she needs to treat her tuberculosis,” the health department said, and thanked the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department deputies “who supported public health with this necessary intervention.”

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Tuberculosis bacillus

An image of tuberculosis bacillus that causes the serious airborne disease. (iStock)

Pierce County Corrections Bureau Chief Patricia Jackson said at the time that she believed the woman was actively evading arrest.

The woman’s case marks only the third time in the past 20 years that the health department sought a court order to detain a potentially contagious individual who is refusing treatment.

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