Westlake High School students offered chance to take TB test

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - Sixteen hundred students and staff at Westlake High School were offered the chance to take a tuberculosis test at the high school Tuesday.

A member of the Westlake High School community was diagnosed with tuberculoses, an infectious disease that normally attacks the lungs and can be fatal if not treated.

The risk to people here is considered low, but some parents, like Timothy Artman, deciding why take the risk?

Even though its minimal we thought to error on the side of caution its not a difficult test so we thought wed go through with it."

The Cuyahoga County Health Department Tuberculosis program through MetroHealth Medical Center really stepped up and helped Westlake through this process. They came to Westlake schools when they found out that a member of the Westlake community had come down with tuberculosis they answered questions set up protocal and had a Q & A right in this building and that led to this an opportunity for people here to be tested.

Parents of students under 18 had to sign a permission slip for their student to get the test.  Because the program ruled the risk minimal, students at other Westlake Schools were not offered the test.

County nurses will come back on Thursday to read the tests.

The Westlake City School District administration was contacted by the Cuyahoga County Tuberculosis Program last Wednesday after school dismissal, to communicate that a member of the Westlake High School community was diagnosed over break as having contracted tuberculosis (TB) by the TB Clinic at MetroHealth Medical Center.

This person has not returned to school since winter break, and experts in the TB Clinic have advised the risk is extremely low to our high school community and that the school does not need to close.   The risk is even smaller elsewhere in the district because the individual has no link to the other buildings.

The district met with representatives from the TB Program early Thursday morning to put protocols in place where information can be posted and, while the likelihood is very low TB was contracted at school, voluntary TB testing will be offered to all WHS students and employees as an extra precaution.

Any high school student or employee who misses this testing window and who wishes to be tested may be tested at no cost at the MetroHealth TB Clinic, or you have the option of going through your primary care physician.

Anyone who has a negative skin test result during the first round of testing will be asked to have a repeat skin test after three months to ensure they are not affected as an additional precaution. Dates for these repeat tests will be set up through Westlake High School and communicated nearer that date.

Additional information about TB can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/TB. You can link to this information from the school district website at www.wlake.org.

Additional questions can be answered by Cuyahoga County TB Program at 216.778.8083. Parents who want their WHS student(s) tested must fill out a permission form, which will available online at www.wlake.org.

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