Early tests come back positive for tuberculosis in Clark Co. - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Early tests come back positive for tuberculosis in Clark Co.

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SELLERSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- It's been about two weeks since a Rock Creek Academy student got sick, went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Since then, Clark County health officials have been testing anyone who may have recently come in contact with that student.

Out of 250 tests, 48 skin tests came back positive.

But officials say that doesn't necessarily mean those 48 people have the disease.

There are several steps in the process of being tested, and health officials say a skin test is just the beginning.

If that's positive, officials recommend a chest x-ray, and if further evaluation shows the disease, it's called a suspect case.

"It's very serious, yeah,” said Mike Meyer, administrator for the Clark County Health Department.

Meyer says TB is an airborne disease.

"It's spread through droplets when people cough or sneeze,” Meyer explained.

The main symptom is an aggressive cough.

But Meyer says the circumstances surrounding this case are unusual.

“TB cases seem to be increasing every year, but not to this magnitude,” Meyer said.

When asked if 48 positive skin tests is alarming, Meyer answered,"Well it is, yes. I wouldn't use the word alarming, but there's obviously need to get to the bottom of this."

Meyer says there's no approved vaccine for TB in the U.S., so those who do get it are put on a lot of different drugs.

He says the student who has it is being treated and improving every day.

According to Meyer, the only way to prevent it is to avoid contact with those who have the disease.

If you are a parent of a Rock Creek student, there is an open testing at the Sellersburg school on Monday from 1-6:30 p.m. in the gym.

Everyone else who wants to get tested should call their doctor or the Clark County Health Department.

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