Free TB Tests Offered After Jenks Student Diagnosed With Tuberculosis
JENKS, Oklahoma - Jenks High School and the Tulsa Health Department are planning free tuberculosis testing for some students who they think may have come in contact with a student diagnosed with TB.
The Health Department confirmed with the district Monday morning that one high school student tested positive.
The high school student has missed the last three weeks of class, and the health department says recovery can take at least six months.
Rob Loeber with Jenks High School said since learning about the student with tuberculosis the school has been in touch with the teen's family.
"We know that the student is okay and hopefully can return to school as quickly as possible," he said.
The Tulsa Health Department says the risk of tuberculosis spreading to anyone at the school is "extremely low" - but the infection is serious.
Donna Durant-Macon with THD said, "Left untreated, it can lead to death."
Durant-Macon manages the tuberculosis program with the health department and said anyone who has had close, repeated contact with the affected student needs to take their health seriously.
Students who rode the bus or went to class with the affected student are being contacted by the Tulsa Health Department and are encouraged to get tested for TB.
"If the test is positive, then we will offer chest X-rays here at the Tulsa Health Department - and there's no charge for those," Duran-Macon said.
The health department said, so far this year, there have been 61 cases of tuberculosis statewide. Last year, there were 67 cases - 16 in Tulsa County.
But, Durant-Macon said it might be more common than people realize.
"I think statistically, about one-third of the population is infected with the dormant infection," she said.
She adds, in some cases, active tuberculosis can take 18 to 24 months to recover from.
"We wish the student well, we wish the family well,” Loeber said. “I know it's a trying thing for kids and families to go through."
Free testing is available Tuesday at the high school for students who the health department reached out to.