Third round of tests ordered in Oologah

Tuesday, January 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OOLOGAH, Okla. (AP) _ The state Health Department has ordered a third round of tuberculosis tests on students at the Oologah-Talala School District.

The order came after a second case of tuberculosis was confirmed in the district. Oologah school officials were notified of the second case Dec. 31; the first student had tested positive for the disease in November.

``The students (who tested positive) are being tutored at home and will not be allowed to return to school until the school receives a clearance from a hospital and the health department,'' Superintendent Mike Campbell said.

Kelli Rader, a registered nurse with the Rogers County Health Department, said Monday that health officials also are watching to see whether any other students come down with the disease.

After the first student tested positive, school officials held a public forum for the community and school employees to provide information about the disease.

The second student was one of 200 who were tested as part of the Health Department investigation process after the first student tested positive. Oologah students who were in contact with the second student were tested Jan. 8 and Friday.

The two Oologah cases brought the total number statewide for 2001 to 174.

There were 154 reported cases of tuberculosis in 2000, a decrease from 208 reported cases in 1999, said Dr. Jon Tillinghast, tuberculosis control officer for the state Health Department.

The increase in 2001 resulted from three situations involving outbreaks in Rogers, Coal, Comanche and Jackson counties, with a large number of people exposed, Tillinghast said.

In Rogers and Coal counties, the outbreaks centered around a school. The Comanche County case may involve 10 people testing positive, Tillinghast said. Some of those people who may be infected have moved to Jackson County.

Also, there was a significant delay in the diagnosis of the Comanche County case, Tillinghast said, which allowed for prolonged exposure.

Tuberculosis is an airborne, transmitted disease. Its symptoms may include feeling weak or sick, weight loss, fever, night sweats and complaints of cough, chest pain and or coughing up blood.