Officials at Castle Heights Middle School warned parents last week that a student may be confirmed as having tuberculosis.
Castle Heights principal John Kirell called families last Friday and wrote a notification letter detailing the case, which he said involved an 8th-grade student.
“I was notified late Thursday afternoon that we have a student that will more than likely be confirmed with TB based on preliminary tests,” said Kirell in the letter. “I have spoken to Dr. (Melissa) Overman (with the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control) several times over the past two days and she feels very confident that this will not affect many students, but we need to be as transparent as possible.”
Kirell said that DHEC has informed him that there is “limited chance of exposure.”
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Once officials confirm the lab results, they will come to Castle Heights to start a contact investigation process, he said. That investigation will include evaluating the school layout and routine activities for the case to determine the level of risk from classrooms, lunchrooms and other areas of the building.
Kirell told parents that the student was last at school on Dec. 13.
Rock Hill school district spokesperson Mychal Frost said the school will take the direction of DHEC.
A letter from DHEC to the school detailed that a laboratory confirmation will be available by Dec. 30. Tuberculosis, or TB, is a lung infection that can be spread through the air by a person with active TB disease.
If the case is confirmed, the letter says, those who are considered close contacts with the student will receive recommendations to be tested for TB first. Testing everyone in a school is rarely recommended, according to DHEC.
Parents with questions or concerns are asked to call the DHEC Careline at 800-868-0404. Staff are available through Friday, Dec. 30 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. to answer questions.
What you need to know
For more information on tuberculosis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) TB website at https://www.cdc.gov/tb/.