County to test students at Antioch school for tuberculosis after case confirmed
April 9, 2013
Contra Costa County health officials are investigating a case of tuberculosis involving a student at a high school in Antioch. The student was confirmed to have active tuberculosis on March 25th and is no longer infectious.
Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Chief Erika Jenssen said staff from the health department's Tuberculosis Control Program is working with school officials at Deer Valley High School to inform parents. Letters have been sent to parents and guardians of students who may have been exposed.
"We know parents may be concerned and we are working closely with the school officials to ensure all appropriate measures are taken to protect students. Tuberculosis generally does not spread easily, and infection usually requires at least six to eight hours of close contact," Jenssen said. "As a protective measure, we will test those who shared classrooms or were in a club with the student."
Tuberculosis is caused by a germ that usually infects the lungs and can be spread from person to person through coughing. It is treatable with an extended course of medications. Symptoms of active tuberculosis include a prolonged cough, fever, night sweats and unexpected weight loss of at least 10 pounds. There were 55 reported cases of tuberculosis in Contra Costa County in 2012.
Most people who are exposed to tuberculosis will not become infected. Most people who are infected with the germ will not develop active tuberculosis, will not have symptoms and cannot spread the germ to others.
According to Jenssen, tuberculosis infection can be identified in its early stages with a simple blood or skin test. If a test is positive, a chest X-ray is usually necessary to determine if the infection is active tuberculosis. Jenssen said concerned students and parents could also contact their health care provider for further testing. To learn more about tuberculosis visit www.cchealth.org/tb or call 211.
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