Prison officers from Cloverhill jail are being banned from their own homes because of the TB health scare, the Herald can reveal.
Some staff members are being forced to sleep on camp beds in their garages as families seek to protect themselves from the deadly infection.
That is the claim being made by senior Cloverhill sources today as the health authorities refuse to meet the demands of officers and prisoners for full scale testing.
Officers have revealed that 60 prisoners at Cloverhill are demanding to be fully tested, with up to two dozen staff members feared to have had direct contact with "full blown TB".
And the Herald has learned that over 90pc of officers checked last week were found to have a contracted latent TB infection. "The Prison Service insists the issue is one for the HSE who in turn say it is a matter for the local health authorities. We are caught in the middle and it is putting a great deal of stress on staff and their families," a senior officer at the jail said.
"We have some 60 prisoners now demanding full testing as well and we have increased fears for about two dozen staff who had direct contact with full blown TB."
A number of prisoners who were hospitalised with the disease were accommodated for three months in a "gowning" room where hospital staff changed before and after delivering treatment.
The Herald has continuously documented the spiralling TB crisis at Cloverhill over the past few months with officers now on high alert that the disease will get out of control.
And sources at the prison have today laid bare the TB problem -- claiming that officers are sleeping in their garages and using different cutlery to protect their families.
A senior officer explained: "There is at least one officer here sleeping in his garage on a camp bed. Others are using different cups, plates and everything else to guard against cross-infection in their home.
"There are other dangers here for the authorities in the long term. Prisoners are no strangers to litigation and if anything goes wrong in future it could prove very costly."
Despite the fears only three officers have taken sick leave. A spokesperson for the HSE could not provide a comment when contacted by the Herald.