Tuberculosis patient's treatment refusal prompts court orders

Health officials in Washington state have filed numerous court orders requiring a woman with an active tuberculosis infection to isolate and receive treatment, NBC News reported Jan. 3. 

Over the past year, the state health department has repeatedly sought court orders for the woman, who has refused to isolate or take medications to treat the infection, according to The News Tribune, At one point, she did start treatment but prematurely ended the process, which can take three to nine months, according to the CDC

The latest order, issued Jan. 20, allows officials to test, treat and detain the woman.

"The court order is in place ordering isolation and quarantine," Nigel Turner, the department's division director of Communicable Disease Control, told NBC News. "We're working with her on assessing the compliance with that."

Under Washington state law, public health authorities may take legal action when a person's treatment refusals pose a threat to the public. In the past two decades, the department has sought court orders to detain three people who refused tuberculosis treatment, according to Mr. Turner. 

The department did not say why the woman had refused treatment.

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