The possible spread of tuberculosis at Lafayette High School has warranted an investigation by the Louisiana Office of Public Health.
The issue was brought to the attention of Lafayette Parish School System officials Tuesday afternoon by the Office of Public Health, says Angela Morrison, director of community collaborations and partnerships for LPSS. The school system responded by sending a mass email Tuesday evening to the parents of LHS students.
“They contacted us saying they would be investigating a case that may be,” says Morrison. “That’s why parents, faculty and staff all were notified of the need for testing.”
The testing will be conducted Monday and Tuesday by Public Health officials, and will only include those who are considered at-risk for infection.
“Tuberculosis is a lung infection caused by a bacteria,” says Dr. Tina Stefanski, medical director for the Acadiana region of the OPH. “It spreads through the air by close, prolonged contact to an infected person.”
|Dr. Tina Stefanski|
Stefanski tells IND Monthly that the “possible” infection at Lafayette High has yet to be confirmed.
“It may take several weeks before we get the results back on the suspected case,” says Stefanski. “We do not wait on those results to proceed with our investigation. We are currently identifying those people considered most at-risk and who were in closest contact with the suspected case. They will undergo blood-testing, and we should get those results back in a couple of days.”
Stefanski says it remains unclear how many people will undergo next week's testing. She says she will know more by Monday.
According to Tuesday’s e-mail, a letter, which must be signed and returned by Friday, will be distributed today to parents of at-risk students:
If your child does not receive a letter, Office of Public Health believes your child is not at a high risk of exposure to this suspected case. Therefore, it is not necessary to test your child at this time.
For more information, Stefanski says people can call her office at 262-5311.