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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2013

DHEC Update TB Investigation, Greenwood County

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has provided the following update to the tuberculosis (TB) investigation in Greenwood County:

Citizens of Greenwood County were re-tested out of an abundance of caution and pursuant to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) protocols on August 10th.  Walk-in and follow-up testing will continue on an as-needed basis.  The numbers below reflect the medically confirmed results to date.  Importantly, there are no additional cases of infectious tuberculosis and the 2 cases announced in May are no longer infectious.

TSTs Placed = 391
Negative Results = 318
Positive Results = 1 Adult (Negative x-ray.)
Results Pending = 49
No Results (Did not return for reading) = 23

Today, a reporter of The State paper editorialized a CDC report without complete or proper information regarding an individual identified by DHEC during the contact investigation of the Index case in Greenwood.

  • The individual did not die of TB.  In fact, it wasn't even the secondary cause of death.
           
  • The individual had no contact with the Ninety-Six Primary Elementary School.
           
  • The individual was an inpatient at a hospital under the care of a medical doctor.
           
  • It was DHEC who identified the individual as a potential suspect and contacted the hospital.   In fact the CDC noted in their official report that "(e)ven before genotyping results became available, DHEC staff members had already identified Patient C as a contact . . . and considered his case as part of the outbreak."  (CDC Report, p. 6., Fn.3)
           
  • DHEC hid no information and, in fact, gave the information relied upon by the reporter to the CDC and the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
           
  • The CDC stated in their audit report, which included the review of this matter, that they "were thoroughly impressed with the dedication and knowledge of the staff at DHEC." (Cover letter from Dr. Krista Powell dated August 7, 2013).

The reporter also noted that DHEC did not notify the parents of the children for two months.  As was testified to in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee hearing, DHEC notified every individual medically indicated in a timely and safe manner.  Notifying the school families was solely within the discretion of the district school board. Please be advised that the school board that governs the Ninety Six Primary School knew of the TB investigation when DHEC notified them in March, and made the decision not to notify the parents until the Director of DHEC insisted upon it in May.  (District School Board Meeting, June 7, GwdToday.com YouTube channel, minutes 18-26.)

Information resulting from this investigation will be provided as it is confirmed, and in accordance with state and federal law.

To learn more about TB, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tb   

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For media inquiries:
Mark Plowden – (803) 898-9518
Email –Mark.Plowden@dhec.sc.gov