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Southport parents get answers for kids’ exposure to TB

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Testing for tuberculosis starts Tuesday at Southport High School.

The school put parents on alert last Wednesday that one student was infected. On Monday night, officials took questions from the parents of those who might have been exposed.

Erica Dirindin has questions after getting a call that her daughter could have been exposed to tuberculosis.

“I want to know how did they recognize who was exposed,” she said.

Dr. Eva Muloma, an infectious disease specialist for the Marion County Health Department, had answers.

“We cast a pretty wide net in the sense that anyone who’d had even one class with this particular person was caught in that net,” she said.

Those students, like Dirindin’s daughter, will be tested at the school this week. Dirindin wanted to know if she should also be tested.

“Now that kids if they have been exposed are they exposing their parents?” she said.

Muloma said that is not a risk.

“Only those who actually shared a class with the student need to be tested, so the parents of other students do not need to be tested,” she said.

Muloma said because of the way the disease spreads through the air, it’s actually not likely other students have been infected.

“You have to have continued close relationship to actually contract it,” Muloma said.

Muloma said it actually wasn’t surprising to the health department to have a case of TB. She said there are up to 50 in the county every year.

“Our numbers are really no different. We don’t have an outbreak; this is a single case at a school,” she said.

She said the student who brought TB to Southport has already been quarantined and is being treated at home.

The test for the students is two parts. The students will get the skin test applied Tuesday or Wednesday and then nurses will come back Friday to read that test and determine if the kids have been infected.

There are a number of details the school isn’t giving out, like the identity of the student who brought TB to school. They also won’t release the number of students getting tested.