Godby High School held an informational meeting in the media center Wednesday to inform parents and students about how tuberculosis spreads and addressed parents' concerns.
Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a bacterial disease that affects the lungs. It is received by inhaling infectious air droplets, and it can be spread through something as simple as a cough or sneeze.
Due to confidentiality and HIPAA Laws, the name of the student infected with TB is not being released, and several parents were concerned that their child was potentially put at risk by passing that individual in a hallway or classroom.
Kathleen Malloy, a media specialist and a parent of two children at Godby High School praised the school for their immediate communication with parents of the situation.
"They [administration] stepped on it immediately, as fast as they received notification from the health department. They put a plan in place to notify students and parents."
Toni Hutto, a concerned parent, said that she wants to know what to do for her child.
“I will feel better once more students are tested, to find out whether this is just a one time case or if other student have contracted the TB,” Hutto said.
In the meeting School officials stated that they tracked the daily routine for the student infected with TB and notified those who were potentially at high risk.
On Monday and Tuesday they will conduct testing for TB, and on Wednesday and Thursday health official will return to read the results for the tests. For students that test positive for TB, they will offer x-rays.
Marjorie Kirsch, the medical director at the Florida Department of Health in Leon County, addressed concerns from parents. She enlightened parents that TB is not an easy disease to spread.
“TB is only spread in the air, not on surfaces you can kiss, touch, share food,” Kirsh said. “You can't spread TB that way; it has to come from the lungs, and someone else has to breath it in.”
She added that the bacteria do not hang in the air long—only for about 4 hours. This is not the first time she has dealt with TB, “ten or fifteen years ago, we had 20 cases of TB at any given time.”
According to the CDC Symptoms of TB disease include:
• a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
• pain in the chest
• coughing up blood or sputum
• weakness or fatigue
• weight loss
• no appetite
• sweating at night
If you would to know any updates contact 850-617-4700 or visit the Godby High School website.