Tuberculosis case confirmed at SCS school - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tuberculosis case confirmed at SCS school

(WMC-TV) - Shelby County Schools officials confirmed one person at Frayser High School tested positive for tuberculosis (TB).

Frayser High students and staff members that may have been in contact with the person will be tested for TB by Shelby County Health Department.

Those students and staffers have already been identified. SCS is also contacting parents of those students who may have been exposed.

The health department is providing free skin tests at Frayser High School this week.

Some parents say they do not want to take any chances, so they are checking their children out of school for the time being. In just one half hour, Action News 5's Nick Kenney watched as five sets of parents checked their kids out of school.

"My thing was I don't need my children exposed to that condition, so that's the reason I picked them up this morning," explained Charles Riley. "And I'm trying to see if they're going to get back tomorrow."

Dr. Helen Morrow, with Shelby County Health Department, says there were only 48 cases of TB in 2013.

In Shelby County, with a population nearing 1 million...

"The likelihood is really, very low even though we take it very seriously," she said. "It is a serious disease. It can affect any part of the body. When it affects the lungs or the larynx, generally that is when somebody is contagious."

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs. The disease is spread through the air from one person to another.

Dr. Morrow says some people who have the TB germ show no symptoms. She says treating it is a lengthy process that often includes initial isolation and anywhere from six months to three years of medication.

The following information is provided by Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

How TB spreads

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

Symptoms of TB

- A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer

- Pain in the chest

- Coughing up blood or sputum

- Weakness or fatigue

- Weight loss

- No appetite

- Chills

- Fever

- Sweating at night

Testing for TB

There are two kinds of tests that are used to detect TB bacteria in the body: the TB skin test (TST) and TB blood tests. These tests can be given by a health care provider or local health department. If you have a positive reaction to either of the tests, you will be given other tests to see if you have latent TB infection or TB disease.

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