December 13, 2004
HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO TEST STUDENTS
FOR EXPOSURE TO TUBERCULOSIS
Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department will conduct tuberculosis (TB) skin tests on more than 100 people at Vance High School after a student there was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The student is currently being treated and is not in school at this time.
Students and staff who have shared a classroom or rode the bus with the ill student will receive the TB skin test. Those who have been in the same gym, hallway, cafeteria or other large space with this student are not considered at high risk for exposure to TB.
“We’re casting a very wide net here,” said Dr. Stephen Keener, medical director for the Mecklenburg County Health Department. “We want to make sure we’re testing anyone who might have a significant exposure to TB.”
Letters are being sent home to parents of Vance High School students who may have come into contact with infected student, informing them of the diagnosis and the upcoming skin testing. Similar letters will also go home with every student at Vance High School.
As of the end of November, there have been 48 cases of tuberculosis diagnosed in Mecklenburg County in 2004. Tuberculosis, or TB, is a disease caused by bacteria that can attack any part of your body, but usually attacks the lungs. TB disease was once the leading cause of death in the United States.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person ill with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. TB is treated with a number of different drugs and treatment may last for six months to a year or longer in instances of drug-resistant strains.
Students or parents with questions concerning tuberculosis may call Maria Bonaiuto, RN, MSN, Director of School Health at 704-336-4707 or the nurse at the Tuberculosis Program at the Mecklenburg County Heath Department at 704-432-2665.