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Officials taking steps to deport Mexican teen jailed for refusing tuberculosis treatment

Officials taking steps to deport Mexican teen jailed for refusing tuberculosis treatment

Georgia officials have started taking steps to deport a Mexican teenager who was jailed after refusing treatment for tuberculosis.
Francisco Santos, 17, has acknowledged to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that he is in the country illegally, Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway said Wednesday.
County health officials jailed Santos last week after he refused treatment for an active, contagious case of tuberculosis and threatened to return to Mexico. Santos has since started taking medicine, but will remain jailed at least until a Sept. 5 hearing.
Conway said Santos' condition and his status as a minor could complicate a deportation process that can take months. Because of Santos' age, officials would have to make sure he has family in Mexico or that the Mexican government would take a role.
Also Wednesday, health officials said four people who had been living with Santos tested positive for tuberculosis.
"Those four tested positive but are not actively ill," Gwinnett County Health Department spokesman Vernon Goins said. "Chest x-rays were negative, and we will treat them to keep the disease from developing."
Goins said the four are not contagious and will follow the typical TB treatment for nine months.
One other household relative and three non-household relatives tested negative for exposure to tuberculosis, according to determinations made Wednesday. Five more came in for testing Wednesday, with results expected Friday. And three more people will be tested Monday, officials said.
The incident in some ways echoed the case of Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta attorney who in May was held under a federal isolation order after he went on a European wedding trip and refused health officials' directives that he not take any commercial jets back to the United States.
Tuberculosis kills nearly 2 million people each year worldwide.
Because of antibiotics and other measures, the TB rate in the United States has been falling for years. Last year, it hit an all-time low of 13,767 cases, or about 4.6 cases per 100,000 Americans.