SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A person at Sullivan Central High School has active tuberculosis, a rare infection that the school district alerted parents about today, according to a letter obtained by News Channel 11.
“The first message would be that there is no on-going risk of infection,” said Dr. Stephen May, Regional Medical Director, Sullivan County Regional Health Department. “The case appears minimally contagious, and we are on-going with our contact investigation. We will be evaluating those who are at the greatest risk for possible exposure.”
“There is no public threat at this time,” May said.
May said the diagnosis was confirmed “earlier this week.” The diagnosis did not impact activities at the school, he said.
As the health department and school district investigate the case, they are planning an informational meeting on Monday night at 6:30 at the Sullivan County Department of Education.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another when someone is sick and coughs, speaks, laughs, sings or sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC reports just 9,557 TB cases in the entire United States in 2015.
Dr. May reports 132 TB cases in Tennessee in 2016, down from 145 cases in 2015. Eighty-eight cases in Tennessee have been reported from January through September 16th, according to Dr. May.
In the letter, Sullivan County’s director of schools told families TB is rarely spread to people who spend a small amount of time with an active case of TB.
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