News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 21, 2012

VIDEO: Suspected TB case at Woodrow Wilson

Free testing for students, staff on May 29

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A suspected case of tuberculosis at Woodrow Wilson Middle School has prompted free testing next week for students and staff at the east side Terre Haute school. Testing is not mandatory and parental permission is required for students.

The Vigo County Health Department and Vigo County School Corp. conducted a joint news conference this afternoon to talk about a suspected case of tuberculosis, or TB, which can be spread from person to person through the air.

Parents are being informed by auto-dial call this afternoon, and a mass clinic is planned for May 29. Permission slips for the testing are being sent home with students to all parents Tuesday.

Health department officials declined to state if the suspected TB case is in a student or adult. They did say that because the case has not been confirmed as active tuberculosis, they are being pro-active in offering the free testing because the school year will be ending in less than two weeks.

The person who may have the disease is no longer at Woodrow Wilson, school officials said. Officials say it is safe for students and employees to attend school.

Tuberculosis, a disease caused by germs that usually affects the lungs, can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys or the spine. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

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.

TB is NOT spread by:

• shaking someone’s hand.

•  sharing food or drink.

•  touching bed linens or toilet seats.

•  sharing toothbrushes.

For more information about TB, go to the CDC website at: www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/exposed.htm.

See Tuesday’s Tribune-Star for more information or visit www.tribstar.com.