News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 17, 2012

Suspected TB case turns out negative

Massive testing at middle school followed report in May

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Final test results are in, and a suspected case of tuberculosis at Woodrow Wilson Middle School has turned out to be negative.

Local officials learned the outcome within the last two weeks, but the Indiana Department of Health wanted to hold off on releasing the findings until it obtained results on another individual in the same household.

The results for that second individual also are negative, according to information the Vigo County Health Department received today.

In late May, near the end of the school year, the suspected case prompted health authorities to provide free TB testing for students and staff at the eastside Terre Haute school.

The testing was encouraged, but not mandatory. About 760 Woodrow Wilson students and employees underwent testing, and ultimately, none tested positive.

If the suspected case had turned out to be a confirmed case of tuberculosis, then Wilson students and employees would have faced a second round of TB testing.

“There will not be a second round of testing,” said Joni Wise, Vigo County health department administrator. Health officials are “relieved” that the tests were negative and that no additional testing is necessary, she said.

For confidentiality reasons, officials have not released whether the suspected individual was a student or employee.

Wise said health officials did the right thing by having students and employees tested before the school year ended. The TB skin tests also had to be checked 48 hours later.

Based on the information officials had at the time and the short time frame to react, “it was the right thing to do,” Wise said. “I’d rather err on the side of being over prepared than not doing anything and causing health problems within the community.”