Case of tuberculosis confirmed at Carolina Forest High School

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed a case of tuberculosis at Carolina Forest High School.

According to information on its website, which was posted Thursday, DHEC is working with school administrators to determine who at the school may have been exposed and need TB testing.

"DHEC has communicated this information to parents and staff and will continue to keep the school community updated on the next steps," information on DHEC's website stated. "DHEC is evaluating the school layout and routine activities of the case to determine the level of risk for classrooms, lunchrooms and other areas where the students and staff congregate."

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease found primarily in the lungs. It is spread from person to person by sharing the air space in a confined area for a prolonged period of time.

"Walking by someone or touching their hands or shaking hands, you can't get it that way. It has to be breathed into the lungs," said Dr. Kevin Soden, a public health physician.

Symptoms usually include heavy coughing, fever, chills, night sweats and fatigue. People with TB can get treated, but it takes a while.

"Usually it can be treated with medicines, but it takes six to nine months," Soden said. "It's a long treatment."

In an email from Horry County Schools to parents, spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said testing everyone in a school is rarely recommended.

Soden said even though TB can spread through the air, it's very difficult to get because it's usually spread through coughing or sneezing.

As a result, usually only people very closely associated with someone with TB, like family members, are the ones at serious risk.

"They really should not be worried, because it's not easily transmissible," Soden said.

For more on TB, click here.

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