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May 30, 2013

DHEC announces additional action in a Greenwood County TB investigation

COLUMBIA, S.C. S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine Templeton today instructed the agency to take additional action to protect the students at an area school and community residents from possible exposure to tuberculosis (TB).

Templeton personally visited the area's health clinic last week and found, based on the circumstances, additional and immediate action was necessary. Agency leadership reviewed the case with school officials over the Memorial Day weekend, and previous work done by regional staff was examined.

As a result, some DHEC staff originally responsible for handling the case are no longer employed by the agency, and others will face disciplinary action.

A toll-free number to connect concerned parents with DHEC medical staff was established, and a question and answer forum for parents with a DHEC physician was held at the school last night. Out of an abundance of caution, testing on potentially exposed children will begin tomorrow morning.

Also following Templeton s visit, medical experts have been dispatched to the community to review the case, beginning with the individual associated with the school who has tested positive for tuberculosis disease.

That individual has not been fully cooperative, and has now been served with a Public Health Order requiring them to cooperate with the agency. Refusal to comply could result in arrest and detention.

"There is a great deal of anxiety in this community regarding the possible exposure of school children and others to the tuberculosis germ," said Templeton. "This community needs to know that their health department is here to help them. We are committed to protecting them, and have taken additional actions to ensure their health and safety."


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For media inquiries:
Mark Plowden - (803) 898-9518