Waynesville School District tests students for TB after case identified

courtesy: MGN Online

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. -- The Waynesville School District is educating its students and parents about tuberculosis after a student contracted the infection.

The district, with proper consent, tested staff and students Wednesday who had close contact with the student identified in the case. Test results are expected on or before Tuesday, December 12.

For those who test negative, a second test will be needed in eight to ten weeks. The Waynesville R-VI School District will pay for both the base line testing and the second round of testing for close contacts. The date of the second test will be announced shortly.

If a student with close contact tests positive, parents will receive a phone call and instructions on the next steps and how to follow up with medical professionals. The Missouri Department of Health and Social Services will provide TB medications free of charge to individuals identified in a contact investigation and diagnosed with TB infection.

Information shared at the forum includes the following:
- Tuberculosis can be effectively treated and is a curable disease.
- There are two types of TB,infection and disease. In the United States, it is estimated that 9,000,000 to 14,000,000 people have TB infection. In the United States, approximately 10,000 people have TB disease every year.

In persons with TB infection:
- TB germs are in the body, but the person is NOT infectious.
- A TB test is usually positive.
- Chest X-ray is normal.
- Sputum smear and culture are negative.
- No symptoms are present.
- Treating TB infection prevents the development of TB disease in most cases.

In persons with TB disease:
- TB germs are in the body and the person is often infectious before treatment.
- TB is spread to other people through the air when a person with TB of the lungs coughs, sneezes, shouts, talks or sings.
- A TB test is usually positive.
- Chest X-ray is usually abnormal.
- Sputum smear and culture are positive.
- There are usually symptoms which can include prolonged productive cough (2-3 weeks), chest pain, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), fever, chills, night sweats, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss/failure to gain weight.
- The individuals at an increased risk of having TB infection become TB disease are those with diabetes, HIV, organ transplant, gastric bypass surgery, prolonged corticosteroid therapy, end stage renal disease, silicosis or cancer of the head or neck, etc.

“The Missouri TB Elimination Program follows about 90 cases of TB disease statewide each year, and provides services to ensure that the public’s health is protected," said Ken Palermo, administrator for DHSS’s section for disease prevention. "Services provided by the program include providing medications and case management to ensure effective treatment to cure those who have TB disease. Additionally, the program gives support and consultations for local public health agencies to conduct contact investigations to help control the spread of TB in our communities. Nobody is to blame when someone contracts TB, and by working together we can protect the health of everyone in Missouri.”

Anyone with additional questions may call the Pulaski County Health Center at 573-736-2217.