LAGRANGE, Ga. – Public health staff have screened 980 people to date for Tuberculosis (TB) at Upson Lee High School (ULHS) and Upson Lee Middle School (ULMS) following the identification of a ULHS student as being suspect for TB. Of the 980 people screened, five will require continued medical evaluation for positive exposure to the TB germ. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 percent of people in the general population tested for TB will have a positive reaction to the Tuberculin Skin Test (TST). The total number of people having a positive reaction in this instance falls within the average for a large group.
Further testing, normally a chest x-ray, is needed to determine if the infected person has active TB or not. If the chest x-ray is normal and the person has a positive reaction to the TST, (s)he is diagnosed as having latent TB infection (LTBI) and is given a regimen of preventive medicine.
If the person has an abnormal x-ray, a sputum specimen is collected and examined for the presence of the TB germ. If the germ is present, the person is considered infectious. Treatment for people with active TB usually starts with a four-drug regimen. These drugs are taken orally and under strict supervision until completion of therapy.
Symptoms for active tuberculosis are: a productive cough lasting more than three weeks, fever, chills, night sweats, getting tired easily, and loss of appetite. Weight loss and coughing up blood may be symptoms of infectious tuberculosis of the lungs.