The Louisiana Department of Health has identified a case of tuberculosis in a person connected to Franklin High School, a statement released on Wednesday says.
Although the overall risk to students and staff in the high school is not believed to be high, Office of Public Health officials are identifying persons who may have been in closest contact with the case to ensure that they are fully evaluated, tested, treated appropriately or offered preventive treatment if needed.
Only those students, teachers and staff that are identified as being at an increased risk of exposure need to be tested for TB infection at this time. The Office of Public Health will send out letters in the very near future and make calls to staff and parents of students who were closest to the case. All other students and staff who do not receive letters can and should rest assured that they are not among the closest contacts and they have been determined to be at minimal risk of exposure.
While the Office of Public Health is being aggressive and proactive in identifying and contacting those that may be at risk, we ask that any individual should contact their physician if they believe that they may be ill from TB. Symptoms of TB can include a cough of longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, chills, fever and coughing up blood.
TB is an infectious bacterial disease that is spread only through the air from one person to another. TB cannot be spread through food or drink, through clothing, or through skin contact, such as shaking hands or hugging. Also, unlike COVID-19, TB is not spread via surface contamination.
The only way to contract the disease is to be extremely close to an infected person when they cough, sneeze, sing, or talk, and you breathe in the bacteria.
Tuberculosis disease is preventable with antibiotics, and completely curable. Persons with TB disease will become non-infectious within a few days to weeks of effective treatment and will be able to return to normal activities without risk to others while completing treatment.
The Office of Public Health will continue to work closely with St. Mary Public Schools and local health care providers to ensure that all necessary and appropriate precautions are being taken for the safety of students and staff at Franklin High School.