SCS confirms tuberculosis case at Frayser High - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

SCS confirms tuberculosis case at Frayser High

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A tuberculosis investigation is underway at Frayser High School and Shelby County Schools. Administrators said someone who is currently being treated for TB may have exposed others.

"We start out with the smallest ring, the people who have had the most exposure, we go in and test these people to see if they might have acquired the germ from the index case or the suspicious case," said Dr. Helen Morrow, Shelby County Health Department Officer.

The Shelby County Health Department is testing students, staff and even parents of those who may have been exposed to TB. If more than ten-percent of the TB tests from Frayser High School are positive, the health department will expand the scope of their investigation.

This is standard protocol anytime there is a potential tuberculosis exposure. Morrow said testing for TB cases at schools is more common than people think, and they have a great relationship with the schools about this.

"We have been in schools all over this county," said Morrow, "We do these investigations when they're in school very deliberately, very judiciously."

MORE: Potential tuberculosis case at Frayser High investigated
MORE: CDC.gov info on Tuberculosis
MORE: Man with TB arrested for violating Tennessee law (2013)


District spokeswoman Stefani Everson said that there is one identified case of tuberculosis identified at Frayser High but not everyone in the school needs to be tested for the virus. Only those who have been identified who have had close contact with the individual.

Everson said letters were released Tuesday to those individuals who may have been exposed.

During this most recent investigation, the county health department is giving free TB tests to students, staff and parents who may have been exposed.

"It involves injecting a small amount of antigen under the skin. You get a little bubble on the skin," said Morrow. It takes 48 hours to evaluate if someone tests positive and needs further testing and treatment.

"We have certain criteria to measure this reactivity, and if they have reacted then we will get these people in," Dr. Morrow said. "We will see them here for a physical exam, do a chest x-ray on them."

TB is contagious when it infects the lungs, according to Morrow; then it's commonly spread through water droplets in the air from coughing, sneezing and even talking. People can simply be carriers of TB without actually having the "active TB disease."

The Shelby County Health Department treats those with TB for free at their clinic, providing exams, x-rays, blood work and any medications at no cost to the patient.

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