X-rays next for suspected cases of TB

by Celia Shortt

Following the tuberculosis screenings at Newnan High School and Western Elementary School, one more individual will be receiving further evaluation after showing a positive exposure to the TB germ.

On Friday, Health Department nurses administered tests to a small number of bus-riders from both schools who may have had contact with a Smokey Road Middle School student who is being treated for a suspected case of TB.

Individuals at Smokey Road Middle School were tested last Wednesday. Of the 287 people screened at Smokey Road, 27 were shown to have had positive exposure to TB. The total number of people having a positive reaction in this instance falls within the average for a large group — even with the additional case from Friday’s screenings.

The next step for those showing positive exposure is a chest x-ray. It is needed to determine whether any have TB. If the X-ray is normal, they are diagnosed as having latent TB infection and are given a regimen of preventive medicine.

If the chest X-ray is abnormal, a sputum specimen will be collected and examined for the presence of the TB germ. If it is present, the person is considered to have active TB disease and to be potentially infectious. Treatment for people with active TB usually starts with a four-drug regimen. These drugs are taken orally and under strict supervision until completion of therapy.

Early the week of Oct. 14, LaGrange-based District 4 Health Services officials informed the Coweta County School System that a student at Smokey Road Middle School had a suspected case of tuberculosis.

“It is not a confirmed case,” said Risk Communicator for District 4 Health Service Hayla Folden. “It is a suspected case of tuberculosis.”

Folden said it will be four to six weeks until they know whether the case of TB is confirmed, but they are treating it as if it is confirmed and moving forward with everyone else while they wait for the results.

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