THOMASVILLE -- Some people in Thomasville might receive letters from local health officials this week informing them that they are eligible for free tuberculosis (TB) testing.

The Albany-based Southwest Health District office, which covers 14 Southwest Georgia health departments, announced Tuesday afternoon that it and the Thomas County Health Department are probing a confirmed TB case that could have affected students and staff at Thomasville High School.

Numbers of people possibly impacted in this case were not immediately available Tuesday afternoon.

According to Southwest Health District information, the letters parents and staff might receive will gauge the recipient's possible exposure to the infectious disease.

The letter will also ask recipients to have a simple TB skin test, free of charge, to determine possible infection either Tuesday or July 22 at the Thomas County Health Department.

The Southwest Health District advised health department officials will try to test all the people who receive the letters within the two-day time frame.

In addition, anyone who is tested in relation to this case will receive a follow up TB skin test reading three days after the skin test is applied.

The Southwest Health District office asserted that the test, as well as any further evaluations needed to evaluate a positive result related to the possible TB Thomasville High School exposure will be provided free of charge through the Georgia Division of Public Health.

People who do not receive letters do not need to be tested.

TB is an infectious disease that spreads through the air via droplets expelled by a cough or sneeze from an infected person. The disease can be treated and cured over time with the right medication.

Public health experts say the majority of people exposed to TB do not develop the disease, according to a Southwest Health District press release.

The release stated local public health officials will conduct surveillance (disease tracking) to ensure the disease does not spread from an active case.

For more information, call the Thomas County Health Department, located at 440 Smith Avenue, at 226-4241. More information can also be obtained by calling 1-888-430-4590 or 1-800-430-4212.

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