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Health Department monitoring Gig Harbor High School student with TB

April 8, 2016

School district actively supporting plans to offer testing to affected students and staff

Out of abundance of caution, Health Department to offer testing to identify others who have been exposed. It is not easy to catch TB. Those who live with a person with active TB are most at risk of becoming infected.


TACOMA, Wash. –
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is monitoring a Gig Harbor High School student who has recently been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) disease in the lungs.

While school is operating on a normal schedule, the student is not currently attending classes and will not return to school until there is no public health concern.

The Health Department is working closely with the Peninsula School District administration to ensure all those with exposure risk receive TB testing, and if necessary, treatment.

Although the infection risk to students and staff is low, as a precaution, the Health Department has recommended a TB screening test to approximately 103 Gig Harbor High School students and four staff members. The Health Department has already notified those who should receive the free screening and will offer it the week of April 11.

Others who wish to be tested should contact their health care provider.

What is TB?

Bacteria causes TB, and antibiotics cure it. The two stages of TB are infection and disease. A person who has latent TB infection is not sick and can’t infect other people. People with latent TB infection can develop active TB.

How TB spreads

A person with lung TB can spread the disease when he or she:
  • Coughs or sneezes.
  • Shouts, laughs or sings.
It doesn’t spread by sharing clothing, sharing eating utensils, kissing or hugging, or sexual activity. It doesn't spread in outdoor environments, where sunlight kills the bacteria.

Who is most at risk?

It is not easy to catch TB. Those who live with a person with active TB disease are usually most at risk of becoming infected. For more information about TB, visit www.tpchd.org/TB. You may also call (253) 798-6410.

Contacts
Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager
(253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822 (cell/text), ejeffers@tpchd.org
Steve Metcalf, Communications Specialist
(253) 798-6540, (253) 345-8238 (cell/text), smetcalf@tpchd.org

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