State Department of Health to conduct TB testing at McKinley High School

October 18, 2010, 8:15 PM HST · Updated October 19, 7:17 AM
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The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) will be testing about 200 students and staff members at President William McKinley High School on O’ahu for tuberculosis (TB) due to possible exposure from a student who was diagnosed with active TB disease.  The student is currently not attending school and is receiving treatment.  Parents and guardians of all students have been notified with a letter from the school administration and informational sessions were conducted late last week.  

“The student with tuberculosis is doing very well on medicine and should be cured after treatment,” Dr. Richard Brostrom, Chief of the DOH Tuberculosis Control Branch said.  “Parents should know that tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor contact to be communicable, so only those students with lots of exposure need to be tested.  The school screening represents an extra measure of safety for the individuals, their families, and the greater community.”
 
The DOH will only be testing students and staff who shared the same classroom with the ill student.  TB testing will take place on Tuesday, October 19th at the school.
 
TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and is spread from person to person through the air.  When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air.  If another person breathes in these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.  Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

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Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick.  Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.  Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them.  Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis or TB testing, the public may call the DOH Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the following websites: Hawai‘i State Department of Health at www.hawaii.gov/health/tb ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/tb

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