Health officials investigating case of tuberculosis in Oklahoma County student

OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. – Health officials in Oklahoma County say they are currently investigating an active case of tuberculosis.

On Tuesday, officials with the Oklahoma City- County Health Department announced that they were investigating a case of active tuberculosis in a student who attends Western Heights in Oklahoma County.

Dr. Dale Claflin, with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, said the school became aware of the symptoms a week ago. The student was sent immediately home, and the health department was contacted.

“The Western Heights School District administration and staff have taken all necessary precautions to protect their students and staff,” said Dr. Dale Claflin, TB Medical Director of OCCHD.

Now, officials say they are investigating to see who might have been exposed. They say they are in the process of testing other students and staff to see if they were, in fact, exposed to TB.

Dr. Claflin says after a series of tests, he does not believe other students were really exposed or infected with the disease.

He stresses that even if a student comes back with a positive test, it doesn’t mean they have tuberculosis. It simply means that they have been exposed to TB.

Tuberculosis is a serious infectious disease caused by bacteria that usually attack the lungs. TB is spread through the air when a person with TB coughs, sneezes or even talks.

Symptoms of TB include:

  • A bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats.

TB is usually treated with several medications for a long period of time. If not treated properly, TB can be deadly.

Persons who have not been contacted by OCCHD do not need to be tested. However, if you are concerned or have additional questions, contact the school hotline at 405-261-6720.

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