News

Media Contact Information

No additional TB exposure found at Gig Harbor High School thus far

April 15, 2016

Initial results promising as school district continues to support plans for follow up testing

Out of abundance of caution, Health Department will offer follow up testing May 31. 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 conducted testing this week to assess if a Gig Harbor High School student recently diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) disease in the lungs could have spread the disease to other students. So far, the results are encouraging.

The majority of students and teachers identified for highest possible exposure risk—a group of 103 students and four teachers—received Tuberculosis skin testing April 12 and 13. While initial results show no additional exposure cases, out of an abundance of caution, the Health Department will conduct a second round of testing May 31. The eight-week follow up testing is a standard health practice in the event of possible TB exposure.

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

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

On April 8, with the support of the school, the Health Department notified those who should receive the free screening. Any student not identified in the initial testing group did not meet the possible exposure criteria. Others who have concerns and 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

« Back to Headlines