Update on TB investigation at Miller County High School
COLQUITT, Ga. – The contact investigation into possible exposure to tuberculosis (TB) at Miller County High School is well underway, with around 250 individuals having been tested, public health officials say. Southwest Health District, the Miller County Health Department and Miller County Schools are working together to manage possible TB exposure at MCHS.
“To date, test results indicate more than 90 percent of those tested were unaffected by TB infection,” said Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Charles Ruis. “Less than five percent have TB in their system. That’s very encouraging.”
Ruis stressed that there is a distinction between tuberculosis infection and disease. “With TB infection, there are no symptoms and you are not contagious,” he said. “With TB disease, you experience symptoms and you are contagious.”
He said there is only one individual affiliated with Miller County High School with active TB. “That person is on effective medication,” Ruis said. “Usually a patient is no longer contagious after two weeks of medication. The health department is observing to assure the patient is taking the required medication, as with all cases of active TB.”
Patients with abnormal skin test outcomes are receiving instructions from the health department, said Miller County Health Department Nurse Manager Darleen Cox.
“If the skin test outcome is abnormal, we will notify you and arrange for additional evaluation, including a chest x-ray,” she said.
“Even if your child has not been identified as being at highest risk of exposure, if you still wish to have your child tested, you may schedule an appointment to bring him or her to the Miller County Health Department for a TB skin test,” Cox said. “The fee for this test is $27.” Insurance typically pays for the test.
The child’s primary care provider may be able to provide the service as well.
Tuberculosis disease is a condition that can be spread from person to person through the air. It usually attacks the lungs, but it also can attack other parts of the body. It is not easy to get TB. Repeated exposure over a long period to a person who is contagious is usually required to contract the disease.
Because the disease is airborne and not contracted through touch, it does not benefit to cleanse surfaces to prevent the spread of TB germs.
Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss. Additional information on TB can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/TB/.
For more information, contact the Miller County Health Department at 229-758-3344.