DHEC: Original TB patient detained under emergency order - FOX Carolina 21

DHEC: Original TB patient detained under emergency order

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NINETY SIX, SC (FOX Carolina) -

State health officials said they have taken the original, infectious tuberculosis patient to a secured healthy facility under an emergency order.

Mark Plowden with the Department of Health and Environmental Control said the Emergency Public Health Order was issued Thursday, forcing the Greenwood County "index patient" to be confined for 30 days or until they are no longer infectious.

The emergency order was issued because the patient was considered noncompliant with under the original health order issued on May 30, Plowden said. He said the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office helped execute the order.

According to the order, the patient has been, "evasive, vague and inconsistent with responses to questions from DHEC staff about persons who may be contacts.... You have provided false and conflicting information to DHEC staff, been non-responsive in answering specific questions, and failed to obtain permission before leaving home isolation."

The patient can request a judicial review of the order and in the absence of a court order, the person cannot be detained more than 30 days, the order states. Read more of the emergency order here, which was the first issued in the state since they were authorized in 2011.

As of Thursday, DHEC officials said there is one other adult who has the infectious TB disease along with 10 students. The second infectious adult was just recently diagnosed and has begun treatment, DHEC said.

Since DHEC first reported someone connected to a Greenwood County school, which was identified as Ninety Six Primary School by local officials, tested positive for TB, 546 students and staff were tested for TB, 63 of whom had positive skin test results. Of the 63, only 10 were staff members, according to DHEC.

The state's TB specialist said that the 10 children are not considered infectious because of their age.

While DHEC has not released further information about who the new disease case may have come in contact with, Plowden said anyone concerned should contact their primary care provider or call the Greenwood County Health Department at 864-942-3600. He said those patients will be charged for a test.

While TB is airborne, health officials said people can only get if from someone with a contagious version of the disease and must spend an extended period of time with that person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, TB is spread through the air from one person to another when a person with TB disease (not the infection) coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

However, the CDC said TB is not spread by shaking someone's hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing.

DHEC has set up a special website for information about TB, which can be found by clicking here.

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