Some Edmond Santa Fe students, staff are testing after potential tuberculosis exposure

Edmond Santa Fe High School is pictured in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday, Feb.21, 2023.
Edmond Santa Fe High School is pictured in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday, Feb.21, 2023.

EDMOND — At least some students and staff at Santa Fe High School are being tested to see if they've been exposed to tuberculosis, health officials confirmed Monday.

Susan Riley, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, said Monday the agency will be testing those persons this week as it attempts to maintain the health and safety of the community.

"This is not a public health emergency — just a public health concern," Riley said.

News of the potential exposure and need for tests probably raises numerous questions.

Fact check: Tuberculosis is more dangerous than COVID-19, but context matters

What is tuberculosis, what are its symptoms, how is it spread, how are tests given and how can it be treated?

  • The disease, typically referred to as TB, is caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. Usually, it impacts a person's lungs, but it also can impact other parts of the body, including the brain, kidneys or spine. A person afflicted with TB can die without treatment.

  • Those afflicted with TB may feel sick or weak, experience weight loss, fevers and night sweats. They also can cough up blood and experience chest pain.

  • TB is spread through the air by an afflicted person when that person talks, sings, coughs or sneezes.

  • People can be tested using skin or blood tests.

  • Doctors treat TB patients with several drugs that must be taken over a period of six to 12 months.

How many people were exposed at Santa Fe High?

Riley said Monday she could not provide specifics about who or how many of Santa Fe's population may have been exposed to TB.

"For the safety and anonymity of those involved, it's difficult to answer those questions without giving away possibly identifying information. We can say that all students and staff who may have had potential exposure have been notified and will be tested this week," Riley said.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Tuberculosis screenings underway for Edmond Santa Fe students, staff