JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - On Monday, the Mississippi State Health Department confirmed that a Provine High School student had tuberculosis.
Parents and faculty will soon learn if they are affected. Testing will begin once notifications are received.
Provine High School parents had questions about what the school is doing about a student diagnosed with the disease.
Shelia White Gaskew has a daughter who is a senior at the school.
“I know what kind of disease that is and how contagious it is, and so I’m just concerned with her even coming home,” said White Gaskew. “Will she give that to all of us? Will she give that to someone else in passing?”
“I think it’s crazy, and I do agree with one of the teachers,” said Mary Gardner, the grandmother of a Provine sophomore. “He made the statement they should have let the teachers, the students know about it before now because it happened last year. I think they said it happened last year.”
Letters are being sent to Provine students and faculty notifying them if they need to be tested for tuberculosis. Approximately 200 students and faculty are expected to be tested.
That testing has not started.
According to JPS, the student with TB has not been in attendance during the second semester.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said the symptoms were identified in December.
“When we found that the case where there was concern the individual was removed from school,” said Dobbs. “So there would not be any ongoing risk.”
The bacterial infection is found most often in the lungs. It spreads when a person inhales airborne germs over an extended period of time in a confined area with someone who has the active disease.
According to the State Health Officer, tuberculosis is common in the state with 53 cases reported in 2017.
“The risk from this one case really is minimal particularly, you know, just in the open environment in the school and that worst scenario is not the situation where it would be common to transmit tuberculosis,” said Dobbs.
Symptoms include persistent coughing, coughing up blood, night sweats and weight loss.
A town hall meeting for parents will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at Provine High School.