(Shelby County) The Shelby County Health Department is conducting a tuberculosis investigation at Frayser High School this week.
A student there has tested positive for TB.
“We will be testing people with the greatest degree of contact with a particular person with TB,” Public Health Information Officer Elizabeth Hart said.
She also said letters about the investigation will go out to those “with the greatest degree of contact.”
So far, the health department has identified between 35 and 50 people who have been in close contact with the student.
Those who the health department believes were exposed will be medically evaluated and offered free medicine.
Dr. Helen Morrow was at the high school Monday with a team from the health department, and said TB is a disease they take very seriously.
“There are plans…to go out later this week, letters will be sent out to the people who have been identified and it is not the whole school,” she said. “It is only the people who are identified as having the closest contact and for the most period of time.”
Symptoms of the contagious disease, which can affect your lungs, brain, kidneys, and spine, include weight loss, fever, and night sweats, according to Dr. Morrow.
From the CDC:
TB is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. TB disease was once the leading cause of death in the United States.
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.