Students, staff tested for Tuberculosis at Ada High School

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ADA, OK -- Students, staff, and family members met at the Cougar Activities Center on Ada High School's campus to be tested for Tuberculosis.

The testing was called for after one high school student was recently diagnosed with the disease.

"TB is spread through airborne respiratory droplets, so it's what's floating in the air," says Amy Hill, Administrative Program Manager at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. "Then it has to be inhaled."

Hill says in order for a person to contract tuberculosis, they would need to be exposed to TB for 8 hours, through coughing, sneezing, or any close contact.

She says health officials from the State and Pontotoc County Health Departments came to the center to evaluate 200 people who may have been exposed.

"The skin test is performed by placing a small needle underneath the skin. Then the skin test is read 48 to 72 hours later," Hill said.

Ada City Schools Superintendent, Pat Harrison, says Tuesday's testing went smoothly, and a lot of concerns from parents and students have been addressed.

"We were proactive in getting the information out, and talking to parents and kids early on that someone having the reaction of being scared and not understanding I think we helped alleviate some of that," Harrison said.

But Hill says the testing process isn't over yet. She says state and county health officials will come back in 3 months to follow up.

"We have to do that because it takes the body and immune system a while to recognize the bacteria that they've been submitted to and build up a response to it," Hill said. "So sometimes it can take up to 3 months for the immune system to respond."

The student who has tested positive for TB has already been removed from the school. Harrison says student has been quarantined and will not be allowed to return to class until doctors have provided clearance.

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