Months After Detecting Potentially Fatal Disease State Begins Te - WSPA.com

Months After Detecting Potentially Fatal Disease State Begins Testing Children For Exposure

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Hundreds of children filled a room at Ninety Six Primary School in Greenwood County for a clinic organized by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.  They lined up in the hall, sat at one of a dozen tables staffed by nurses, and had their arms pricked for a tuberculosis test.

The test comes months after the state first started investigating the disease here.

"I feel like it was way too late. I don't feel like we know everything," said parent Haleigh Harrison.
"I think that D-Hec done us wrong and I'm not really happy," said parent Jodi Williams.
A spokesman for agency director Catherine Templeton now confirms the investigation into tuberculosis infection began here in March.  

Templeton was not willing to answer questions about the delay in testing students or notifying parents of possible exposure.

Instead, the state held a meeting for parents Wednesday to tell them about testing for their children.

Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly bacterial infection that attacks the lungs.  It can be fought off by healthy immune systems but, in this case, confirmed tuberculosis disease means it is an active infection that could potentially spread to other patients.
7 On Your Side wanted answers about why, after testing some school staff, parents weren't warned about the tuberculosis until the end of May.
 
"At this point our epidemiological investigation has determined that we were able to identify a number of children who have been placed in an environment where they may have been exposed," said D-Hec spokesman Jim Beasley.

"We're taking the steps at this time to make sure we're doing exactly the right things that we know to do in order to ensure we're looking out for the health of the children, we're looking out for the health of the family, and we're looking out for the health of the community."
     
This week, Templeton fired several of the health officials involved in the investigation and others were disciplined.  The agency will not say how many employees were affected by the action or what mistakes may have been made.
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