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 has 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.
DPHSS 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 exposure.
DPHSS, in collaboration with GDOE School Health Counselors, will provide free TB skin tests to identified contacts at Simon Sanchez High School on April 16, 2013 from 8:30-12:00 pm. The PPD skin tests can also be done at private clinics, at the patient’s expense. If the required PPD skin test is not done or test results not submitted by April 22, 2013, you will not be allowed to work until the test has been completed. This exclusion is necessary to ensure that all close contacts receive the necessary testing.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria causing tuberculosis, is carried through the air in infectious droplet nuclei too small for the naked eye to see and are produced when an in infected person sneezes, coughs, speaks or sings. A person cannot get TB through handshakes, sitting on toilet seats, or sharing dishes and utensils with someone who has the 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, please contact Cecilia Teresa T. Arciaga, TB Control Program Manager, at 735-3602/7157/7131 from 8:00-5:00 pm.