CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - An individual at Conway High School has been identified as having Tuberculosis (TB), according to an Horry County Schools email. The email was sent to Conway High recipients Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The individual is in isolation to receive treatment and prevent the spread of the disease, according to Jim Beasley, DHEC media relations officer.
Screening tests for affected students and staff will take place at the school on Friday, March 13.
Monday, DHEC was informed by a medical facility of a possible case of tuberculosis (TB) disease involving an individual at Conway High School, according to Beasley.
DHEC medical staff met with the individual Monday for an extensive Q&A to determine how and where any other people might have been exposed.
Through laboratory testing on Tuesday, DHEC confirmed the individual was infected with TB disease.
DHEC is working closely with school officials to determine where others could potentially have been exposed and to test those individuals as soon as possible.
Lab results from TB screening tests will determine the need for further testing or treatment, Beasley said.
We anticipate results of testing will be made available to affected students and staff by the end of the school day on Wednesday, March 18, said Beasley.
Local Physician with Doctors Care, Doctor Dennis Rhoades explains Tuberculosis is an airborne sickness but it's important to remember Tuberculosis is treatable.
"Tuberculosis is an airborne disease. We get it through sneezing and coughing,"Rhoades said.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis include, sneezing, a severe cough, spitting up phlegm and blood, weight loss, and a high fever.
However, Doctor Rhoades says people don't always show signs of having the sickness.
"Especially if the person that had it was showing those symptoms, there are times that a person with Tuberculosis won't show those symptoms,"
While the email goes on to say the school is not recommending every student be tested for the sickness, Dr. Rhoades understands why the school is not testing everyone right now.
"If the case has just been reported, odds are, if anyone has been infected they probably haven't turned positive yet," Rhoades added.
However the email does state students and staff the school thinks may have been in contact with the individual were sent separate notification letters and Dr. Rhodes says it's important to stay on top of the symptoms.
"So if you have a negative test now, then you start with symptoms over the course of the next two to three weeks, you can get tested again and see if it has turned positive," Rhoades said.
Dr. Rhoades says they see at least one case of Tuberculosis a month on the grand strand the Department of Health usually acts quickly in preventing the sickness from spreading.
Horry County Schools Spokeswoman, Teal Harding, says the individual will not be allowed in school until cleared by DHEC.
There were four cases of tuberculosis in Horry County last year, a rate of about 1.4 cases per 100,000 residents, according to DHEC data. There were 79 cases statewide in 2014 - a rate of 1.79 per 100,000.
For more information about TB and more statistics, visit http://www.scdhec.gov/tb/.