Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Late Monday afternoon, DHEC was informed by a medical facility of a possible case of tuberculosis infection involving a student at Stratford High School, and took immediate action to thoroughly assess and contain the situation.
According to a Wednesday news release, DHEC’s standard, thorough protocol went into effect:
DHEC medical staff met with the patient Tuesday morning for an extensive Q&A to determine how and where any other people might have been exposed.
The patient is in isolation to receive round-the-clock care and prevent spread of the infection. DHEC received a sample from the patient’s doctors on Wednesday morning and confirmed the tuberculosis infection within just a few hours.
Because the patient is a student, DHEC is working closely with school officials to determine where others could potentially have been exposed, such as the student’s bus and classrooms. This helps DHEC determine who else should be tested as soon as possible, according to the release.
The school district informed parents Wednesday afternoon through its reverse 911 system of the situation and directed them to the district and DHEC websites for more information. Also on Wednesday, letters went home from school to the pool of students most likely to have come in contact with the patient. That letter includes a release form to give DHEC permission to test their child.
The patient’s family and close contacts are being tested Thursday, and students will be scheduled for testing Thursday and Friday, according to the release.
Lab results, available within 72 hours of testing, will determine the need for other action.
DHEC Director Catherine Templeton offered praise for the school district’s response: “This is how our schools should respond when notified of a health threat. We applaud Superintendent (Rodney) Thompson and the school board for their wisdom to notify the parents as soon as the lab confirmed the case.”