TB test scheduled for Shaw High School students, employees

Published: Nov. 5, 2014 at 9:22 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 6, 2014 at 7:08 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School District has notified parents and employees at Shaw High School about a reported case of active tuberculosis (TB) for one student.

The school district confirmed that a total of 300 people, 260 students and 40 employees, will be tested on Monday, Nov. 10.

Shaw administrators are still in the process of collecting consent forms for designated students to be tested on Wednesday. Parents must return the consent forms for the testing.

Parents may opt to take the child to their family physician at their own cost and provide written clearance from the physician. The consent form should be signed by the parent or legal guardian and returned to Shaw High School office administrators, Thursday, Nov. 6. Any child who does not receive a consent form does not meet the criteria to be tested.

TB is a respiratory infection that spreads when a person inhales airborne germs oven an extended period time in a confined area with someone who has the active disease who coughs, laughs, or speaks.

Symptoms of active TB disease are persistent coughing two or more weeks, chest pains, difficulty breathing, chills, fever, coughing up blood, night sweats, feeling tired and weight loss. The risk of infection from this diagnosed case is minimal. The most common way to become infected with TB germs is to have direct, extended contact with a contagious person who has active TB disease.

TB is rarely spread to persons who spend brief amounts of time together, and TB infection can be treated, cured and prevented from progressing to active disease if identified and treated.

Following a meeting on Tuesday with the District TB Coordinator from the Columbus Department of Public Health, TB tests have been scheduled for students and employees who meet the criteria as possible TB contacts.

"The student is not present at school and will not return until medical clearance has been confirmed," said Chief of Student Services Melvin F. Blackwell. "In light of the confirmed TB case, we are taking additional steps as a precautionary measure to ensure those who had close contact with the student are tested."

An initial TB skin test will be administered by staff from the Columbus Health Department. The first test is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 10 at Shaw High School. Students and employees who have been tested are instructed to return to the test site on Wednesday, Nov. 12 to have their test site evaluated.

Any student or employee who tests positive will be notified on Wednesday, Nov. 12. As a convenience and in the interest of healthy students and staff the health department offers the TB skin test at the school for the designated students and designated employees at no cost.

For more information, e-mail communications@muscogee.k12.ga.us, www.columbushealth.com or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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