TB Testing Underway

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Jonathan Stephens and his family received a letter last week saying he may have been exposed to tuberculosis during a February visit to Archbold Hospital.

Monday, Jonathan was one of the first in line to be screened at the Thomas County Health Department, and Jonathan wasn't alone. Hospital officials say letters were sent to about 450 people telling them that they may have been exposed, and recommending that they be tested.

Jonathan's dad, Royce Stephens, said, "It was important to know that the hospital and the health department were concerned enough to let the public know there was a problem with a TB patient or someone that had TB, and wanted the public to be notified about it."

Experts say the majority of people who come in contact with tuberculosis will never come down with the disease, and they say early detection and treatment will prevent TB.

Dr. John Blackmon, an Archbold pathologist, said, "I would emphasize that tuberculosis is a very treatable disease. Really the way to control it is to prevent it, and that's what is going on here, just a means of a follow-up and prevention."

Results will be available three days after a screening. For Jonathan Stephens, that means his results will be ready Thursday, but he say's he's not worrying.

The second session of screenings for those who received a letter will take place Tuesday at the Thomas County Health Department from 7:30 in the morning until 5 p.m. in the afternoon.