More than 260 people tested for tuberculosis

By Nick Walton -

A total of 262 people were tested for tuberculosis this week at Triad Elementary School following news of a person associated with the school was diagnosed with the disease.

Champaign County Health Commissioner Jeff Webb said that on Tuesday and Wednesday, 223 children and 39 adults were tested.

Last week, Triad Local School District informed parents of elementary students and staff members that a person associated with the school was recently diagnosed with active tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis is a rare but serious disease that usually affects the lungs. It is contagious and can be spread to others, especially people with whom the patient spends time with every day. The risk of transmission is low and almost all cases are curable with medication.

Webb said Thursday the active tuberculosis case remained under investigation.

Health district staff were at the elementary school to provide skin tests on Tuesday and Wednesday. Webb said he was surprised by the large turnout.

“There really wasn’t nearly as many people that were seriously exposed to the original person who had the disease, but there are a lot of concerned parents that want to make sure their child is safe and so we had prepared for that,” Webb said. “We had brought in several nurses from different counties and a lot of them that had a lot of experience doing these tests on adults and children.”

Triad Superintendent Chris Piper thanked the health district for support and guidance through the testing.

“They were very professional and reassuring to our students and parents while conducting the tests,” Piper stated. “I also appreciate the support and understanding of our community. School attendance has been normal since the announcement and I’ve had some great conversations with few who have had questions.”

Piper also credited school staff for responding well and for communicating accurate information to parents to reassure them and students that the school is safe. He also thanked the Urbana Kroger store for donating fruit snacks for students to enjoy after they were tested.

In addition to testing at the school, the health district also held a clinic at their headquarters on Wednesday night.

Webb said if a person tests positive for the disease, their next step would be to see their doctor to perform x-rays to make sure they do not have the disease.

By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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