Health officials: Sullivan Central High student has confirmed case of tuberculosis


A student at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville has a confirmed case of tuberculosis, according to a joint statement released Thursday by county health and school officials.

The report from Regional Health Department Medical Director Dr. Stephan May and Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said there is no ongoing exposure at Sullivan Central while officials with the Department of Health describe the risk as "minimal."

"TB is rarely spread to persons who spend a small amount of time with an active case of TB," the report said. "There is no risk of transmission from surfaces, handshake, restroom or classroom facilities at Sullivan Central."

The two county agencies will be hosting an informational meeting on the matter on Monday, Sept. 26 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Sullivan County Department of Education board room. Medical professionals are scheduled to attend the meeting to help with the discussion and questions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a person can be exposed to TB if they spent time near someone with the disease of the lungs or throat by breathing in the germs the infected person coughs into the air.

The federal agency recommends that someone who has been in contact with someone with TB needs to receive either a skin or blood test from their family physician or local health department. Other tests including a chest x-ray or sampling phlegm that is coughed up from the lungs are also possible.

A total of 87 cases of TB have been confirmed in Tennessee this year, according to TDH data.