A suspected case of tuberculosis at Upson-Lee High School prompted the Thomaston-Upson School System and the Upson County Health Department to offer free TB testing on Wednesday, September 19, for all students and staff at the school.
Students must have consent forms signed by parents or guardians in order to receive the simple TB skin test (Mantoux/TST). The Upson County Health Department will administer the tests in the multipurpose room at ULHS. Health Department officials will return on Friday, September 21, to read the skin tests and determine if any type of follow-up is needed. If a student has a positive skin test, the parent or guardian will be contacted with instructions for further testing by the Upson County Health Department.
Parents were notified of the suspected TB case in a letter that went home with ULHS students on Monday, September 17. Information was also made available through the SchoolReach call system and the website. In addition to the ULHS students and staff, approximately twenty ULMS students were identified as riding the same school bus as the ULHS student. These students have received parent consent for testing forms and will be tested at Upson-Lee Middle School on Wednesday, September 19.
School officials found out about the suspected case late Friday afternoon and met first thing Monday morning with District 4 Public Health officials to devise a plan of action that would assure the health and well being of everyone involved.
According to Upson County Health Department personnel, the risk of infection is minimal, and TB is rarely spread to persons who spend brief amounts of time together. The most common way to become infected with TB germs is to spend a long period of time with a person who has TB disease. Tuberculosis is spread when a person inhales airborne germs over a long period of time in a confined area with someone who is infected by the disease and who coughs or sneezes. The good news is, TB can be treated and cured, if identified.
Information about TB and the TB skin test can be found on the Thomaston-Upson School System website and on the Upson-Lee High School website. Anyone with questions or concerns may contact the Upson County Health Department at 706-647-7148.