UPDATE: Suspected TB Case Tracked to Huntington Junior College Student

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

UPDATE 8/28/12 @ 12:15 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Students at a local school are on high alert after finding out one of their classmates has a suspected case of tuberculosis.

While TB isn't something you hear a lot about anymore, it's still just as dangerous and deadly as it has always been. That's why the Cabell-Huntington Health Department is busily working to identify everyone the patient has been in close contact with.

“I think it's crazy, and they should all be tested before they're allowed to go anywhere in the public,” Debbie Starkey said.

“I'm definitely worried about it,” Tamarua Dillon said.

Many students we talked with Tuesday afternoon at the Huntington Junior College admit they're concerned after learning one of their classmates may have tuberculosis.

“Last week, we were made known of the patient's symptoms and asked the patient to come in for interview and they’ve been very cooperative,” said Elizabeth Ayers with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.

WSAZ.com has learned the student is a woman who attends classes at the college on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Students in her classes have been notified and are encouraged to get tested.

“TB is spread through the air. So, the person would have to be coughing, sneezing, talking, singing close to you because you would pick up that air particle that has the bacteria and bring it in to your system,” Ayers said.

Tamarua Dillon has three young children she's concerned about.

“Think about it, you come into contact with so many students just by being in class. Say I'm in contact with you and you and you go to the next person, next person, next person,” Dillon said.

Debbie Lundeby, though, isn't so concerned.

“The only way I could have caught it from her is like this. If she touches something, I can't get it. It's gotta be airborne,” said Lundeby.

But her mother isn't taking any chances.

“Yeah, because if she shows up positive that means I have to get tested and everyone we've been around,” Starkey said.

The health department is developing a list of everyone the patient has come into close contact with during the last six months. Those folks will need to get tested and anyone else wanting peace of mind.

Nurse Karen Shannon demonstrated the simple test on WSAZ.com's Carrie Cline.

“I'm going to place the needle below the skin and make a bubble, and that’s it,” Shannon said.

After getting the test, you have to go back to the health department three days later to have it analyzed. The health department has a TB test clinic twice a week for a $5 fee. They're having a free clinic Friday at the Huntington Junior College for students and faculty.

Signs and symptoms actually depend on where in the body the bacteria are growing. They can include: a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills and a fever.

It's spread when someone who has TB coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. Anyone nearby can breathe in he bacteria and get infected. It's not spread by shaking someone's hand or sharing food or a drink.

TB bacteria usually attacks the lungs, but can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain. If it's not treated properly, TB can be fatal.



UPDATE 8/28/12 @ 12:15 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, WV (WSAZ) -- WSAZ has learned that the suspected TB case in Cabell County is a student at Huntington Junior College.

Students who have classes with the patient have been notified and encouraged to get a TB test at a special clinic being held at the college on Friday.

Elizabeth Ayers with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department says they are working closely with the patient to establish other places they visit regularly. They are also contacting others who may have have had close contact with the patient over the last six months.

The disease is caused by bacteria that usually attack the lungs. It can be spread through the air from person to person.

"TB is spread through the air so the person would have to be coughing or sneezing, singing, talking close to you because you would pick up that air particle that has the bacteria and bring it into your system," said Ayers.

TB cannot be spread through shaking someone's hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats or kissing.

Symptoms of TB are a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, fever, chills and night sweats.

If you suspect you've been exposed to TB, you can get tested at the Cabell-Huntington Health Dept. at their next regular clinic on Friday, September 7 or contact your family doctor.



ORIGINAL STORY 8/27/12 @ 10:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A possible case of tuberculosis has been reported in the Huntington area, according to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.

The disease is caused by bacteria that usually attack the lungs. It can be spread through the air from person to person.

The health department says anyone who may have come in contact with the infected person will be notified.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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