The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) in collaboration with the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) is reporting that an individual at Simon Sanchez High School been diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB). The individual has been taken out of the classroom, started on TB medications, and will not return to the school until medical clearance is given.
The DPHSS, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, Tuberculosis Control Program is working with school officials to identify all close contacts who will be recommended to undergo TB screening. All faculty and parents of students identified as close contacts will be notified by letter and provided information regarding the date for the TB screening.
Exposure to Tuberculosis does not result in TB disease immediately, unlike other communicable diseases such as Measles, Mumps etc. It takes anywhere from 2-12 weeks in order to see evidence of TB infection as shown by a positive TB skin test reaction. Most people who get exposed to TB might be able to keep the infection inactive or latent. However, children below the age of 5 years, people with Diabetes, or other immunosuppressive conditions may not be able to keep the infection under control and are at higher risk of developing active TB disease within a few months or 1-2 years after the exposure.
The DPHSS in collaboration with GDOE School Health Counselors will provide the TB skin test for free to identified contacts at the Simon Sanchez High School on September 11, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Identified students and staff who do not complete the required TB Skin test by September 17, 2012, will be excluded from school until the TB Skin test has been completed. This exclusion is necessary to ensure that all affected students/employees receive the necessary testing.
The required TB skin test (PPD) can be obtained through a private clinic; however, the results of the test must be submitted to the school by September 17, 2012, in order to avoid exclusion.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria causing tuberculosis, is carried through the air in infectious droplet nuclei too small for the naked eye (small air-borne particles less than 5 microns in size) which are produced when persons with tuberculosis of the lung or larynx sneeze, cough, speak or sing. People cannot get infected with TB bacteria through handshakes, sitting on toilet seats, or sharing dishes and utensils with someone who has TB disease.
Persons exhibiting symptoms of the disease such as a bad cough that lasts longer than two weeks, coughing up bloody sputum, weakness or fatigue, chills, weight loss, no appetite, fever and night sweats should contact their physician.
For more information you may call the Cecilia Teresa T. Arciaga, TB Control Program Manager at 735-3602/7157/7131 from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.