Designated TB tests for Shaw High School students, employees completed; results expected Wednesday

Published: Nov. 10, 2014 at 5:53 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2014 at 3:37 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The designated tuberculosis testing for Shaw High School students and employees scheduled for Monday has completed, according to a Muscogee County School District media release.

The TB tests were for the 260 student and 40 employees who may have come in to contact with a student with an active case of TB,


The testing process went smoothly after starting around 9 a.m. and ending at noon Monday. The results of the tests are expected to be released on Wednesday.

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.

There is also a skin test that can done to detect the latent form of TB, which is when someone has been exposed to the bacteria but doesn't have all of the symptoms like an active TB patient would.

"That just means you've been exposed to someone with TB, and the organisms may be just asleep in your body and they're not active,” said Commissioner Dr. Beverley Townsend with the Columbus Department of Public Health. “There are also people who may have false positives as well."

Both latent and active TB patients are medicated the same when treated, but according to Dr. Townsend, latent patients are not contagious.

Dr. Townsend said certain groups of people should also get tested such as health care workers, people who work in the public, homeless shelters and those who are incarcerated.

The Columbus Department of Public Health says it has a team in place that conducts screenings in the community once a case is reported. Last year, nearly 340 TB cases were reported in Georgia, compared to seven cases in Columbus.

"We just do a lot of surveillance and tracking to make sure that those people who have been in contact with a person who has a reported case has been properly screened and then they receive treatment," said Dr. Townsend about the protection process.

For more information, e-mail


or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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