(Reuters) - Florida state health officials have denied they covered up a sharp spike in tuberculosis infections among the homeless in Jacksonville and said the public was not at risk from what is believed to be the worst TB outbreak in the nation in 20 years.
At least 13 people have died and another 99 have contracted TB in the outbreak in Jacksonville, the state's largest city with a population of 825,000.
The Florida Department of Health said local, state and federal officials were working to contain the infections and that there was no need for a highly publicized alert even though up to 3,000 people may be at risk of contracting TB.
State health officials also defended their decision not to raise a general alarm because the population of infected homeless persons appeared isolated and contained.
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