For Immediate Release

June 2, 2015; 2:55pm

DPHSS Release No. 2015-048


The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) in collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE) and Southern High School are working to identify all close contacts to an active case of tuberculosis (TB) recently diagnosed by DPHSS.  All identified contacts recommended to undergo TB screening will be notified by letter and provided information regarding the date for the TB skin test.  Currently, the individual diagnosed with TB is currently on treatment and not allowed to return to the school until medical clearance is given. 

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.

Exposure to TB does not result in TB disease immediately, unlike other communicable diseases such as Measles, Mumps, and Pertussis.  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.

DPHSS in collaboration with DOE School Health Counselors will provide the TB (PPD) skin test for free to all identified contacts at Southern High School on June 3, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.  The required TB skin test can be obtained through a private clinic; however, the results of the test must be submitted to the Southern High School Health Counselor by August 1, 2015, in order to avoid exclusion for School Year 2015 – 2016.

For more information you may call Cecilia Teresa T. Arciaga, TB Control Program Manager at 735-3602 or 735-7145/7157 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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