Press Release – October 27, 2014
District 4 Public Health conducts tuberculosis testing at Newnan High School
District 4 Public Health staff returned to Newnan High School on Monday, October 27 to review the results of Tuberculin Skin Tests placed on Friday, October 24, 2014. While Public Health staff are still working to complete the reporting on all tests, officials with the agency have reported that preliminary results of Friday’s are good.
As of Monday afternoon, only two individuals have tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis, out of more than 100 tested. District 4 Public Health notes that the positive test rate “is considerably lower than the 10% positive rate we expect to see when testing a large group of individuals.” (direct link here).
The Tuberculin Skin Test is a screening measure that can either eliminate a need for further screening for the TB germ, or can indicate that further screening tests are needed. A ‘positive’ reaction to this test does not indicate the presence of the TB germ, and does not indicate that exposure happened in this circumstance. It only shows the presence of relevant antibodies and, given the current circumstances, indicates that a person should pursue further testing.
District 4 Public Health also reports that:
- All test results are being made be available for the parents of tested students. Students will receive a letter with the results of their skin test. The parents or guardians of students with a positive skin test will be notified by phone to discuss the results and any follow-up testing required.
- Individuals who tested positive will receive further testing to determine if they have latent TB infection and if treatment is necessary.
- Individuals who tested negative will receive another skin test in January (8 weeks) to be certain they have not been exposed to TB and had a false negative skin test.
Parents at Newnan High School were informed by letter on Wednesday, October 22 that a student at the school had been identified as being suspect for tuberculosis (TB) by District 4 Public Health. Public Health staff tested 118 students and staff at Newnan High School on Friday, October 24, along with bus riders from Smokey Road Middle School, for exposure to tuberculosis.
To see the letter from District 4 Health Director Dr. Olugbenga Obasanjo, go here.
Among other issues addressed in District 4 Public Health’s communications with Coweta County students and parents:
- The risk of infection from this diagnosed case is minimal. The most common way to become infected with TB germs is to spend a long period of time with a person who has active TB disease. Tuberculosis is spread when a person inhales airborne germs over a long period of time in a confined area with someone who has the active disease and who coughs or sneezes. TB is rarely spread to persons who spend brief amounts of time together, and TB infection can be treated and cured and prevented from progressing to active disease, if identified and treated.
- An investigation by District 4 Public Health identified some students who need to be tested based on their possible exposure to TB. This group of students has been offered the TB skin test free of charge. Only those students whose parents have been notified specifically that their child has been potentially exposed were offered the TB skin test free of charge at the school on Friday, October 24, 2014.
- The Tuberculin Skin Test is a screening measure that can either eliminate a need for further screening for the TB germ, or can indicate that further screening tests are needed. A ‘positive’ reaction to this test does not indicate the presence of the TB germ, and does not indicate that exposure happened in this circumstance. It only shows the presence of relevant antibodies and, given the current circumstances, indicates that a person should pursue further testing.
- If parents of a student who was not tested on October 24 wish to have their child tested, Public Health advises them to contact the Coweta County Health Department or their primary care physician and request to have a Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) placed. Public Health offers TST to contacts free of charge, however, persons not considered a contact of a current suspected case can still be tested for a fee.
If parents have any further questions or concerns they may contact the Coweta County Health Department at 770-254-7400, or the Newnan High School Principal at 770-254-2880.