Health Department reports PCHS student may have TB; transmission risk low

Published 8:59 am Friday, May 22, 2009

The health department has not identified the student or others who may have been exposed. The student is not presently in school and has had limited attendance over the past several weeks, according to Polk County Schools Supt. Bill Miller. The health district says only a small number of persons are likely to have been exposed, and none are at risk of any immediate health problems or of transmitting the disease to others.Tuberculosis is a communicable disease, caused by a bacteria.&bsp; The disease usually develops over weeks or months and is curable with medications. Only a person with active TB disease can spread TB to others; some people who have TB infection never develop active TB. TB can be spread through the air from one person to another when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes or speaks.&bsp; People nearby may breathe in the TB bacteria and may become infected. A positive TB skin test does not mean&bsp; that a person is sick; it only indicates that the person has been exposed to the TB germ at some point in their life. Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but can affect other parts of the body. TB may cause coughing, sometimes severe, that can last for over 3 weeks, fever, weakness, night sweats, poor appetite, unintentional weight loss, chest pain or discomfort, or difficulty breathing.&bsp; However, not everyone who is infected becomes sick.&bsp; Symptoms may take months or even years to appear in people who are infected and not treated.&bsp; Special antibiotics are used to treat and cure TB. For more information about TB see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, You may call your local health department if you have questions.

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