The Duval County Health Department says it's ramping up efforts to test the homeless population in Jacksonville to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report revealed an increase in the number of homeless people with the air-borne disease.
Countywide in 2011, the Health Department reported 71 confirmed cases of active TB. So far this year, there are 39 cases.
John Hauser, who's homeless, said he's glad to hear about the aggressive testing, but he's still concerned about the risk.
"We don't need that running rampant," said Hauser, who's prepared to take a TB test. "We've got enough problems around here without an outbreak of TB, so it's probably a good thing."
The CDC confirmed a 16-percent increase in the number of cases among the homeless in the last year.
To create a remedy, the new goal is to get the entire homeless population tested -- a test that typically requires a wait time of 48 hours.
"It's a good step, but I'm wondering how are they going to locate these people when the tests come back," Hauser said.
The Health Department's plan is to develop a strike team, a group of people who can go beyond the shelters and find people who may be living in the woods or under bridges to take a blood test on the spot that can produce immediate results.
"We have a data system that this information is entered into the system so that way we can track each person and know that they've been tested, when they were tested and if the results were positive or negative," said Tabatha Ball, Tuberculosis Coalition co-chair.
Ball said the county's working quickly to tackle the problem. She's based at the Sulzbacher Center, which is the model shelter for TB testing.
"The percentage of active cases that we have found is very low, and we are assuring that everyone is going to get tested and will get tested in the near future," Ball said.
Ball said most cases of TB can easily be cured by medical treatment.
The state has asked the federal government for $250,000 to be able to give the TB tests.