From a Durham County release:
A child attending Northern High School, located at 117 Tom Wilkinson Road in Durham, North Carolina, has been diagnosed with probable active tuberculosis (TB). TB germs are spread through the air when someone who is sick with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, laughs, sings, or sneezes. The people near the sick person can breathe TB germs into their lungs and develop latent TB infection, which means that they are not sick and only have inactive TB germs in the body, or active disease.
Staff and the parents or guardians of children who have been in contact with the sick child while he or she was in school, have been notified by the Durham County Health Department. Initial testing for TB infection among persons who were exposed will be conducted by the Health Department on Thursday, September 17, 2009 at Northern High School, followed by repeat testing eight weeks later.
In 2008, Durham County had 15 cases of active TB. Nationwide, the number of active TB cases has decreased since 1993. Persons who are foreign-born, have recently traveled to a country where TB is common, have certain medical conditions or work in healthcare settings are more likely to get exposed or develop TB disease.
Symptoms of TB disease include cough that lasts three weeks or longer, fever, sweating at night, and weight loss. Evaluation for TB disease or latent TB infection can involve a skin or blood test, review of symptoms, and chest x-ray. TB disease can be treated by taking several drugs for six to 12 months. Persons who have latent TB infection can take preventative medication for nine months to prevent disease later in life.
For more information about the most recent case of TB in Durham County, contact Gayle Harris, health director for the Durham County Health Department, at 919-560-7650, or Dr. Arlene Sena, medical director for the Durham County Health Department, at 919-560-7600. Information regarding TB can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/tb.