TB Case Found in Sacramento High School

Tuberculosis (Karin Schermbrucker / Associated Press)
Karin Schermbrucker / Associated Press

A student at Florin High School in Sacramento tested positive for tuberculosis last week, prompting the school to schedule testing for the disease among 150 other students beginning Tuesday, according to Capital Public Radio.

Doctor Olivia Kasirye, the Sacramento County Health Officer, pointed out that 10% of people exposed to the disease contract it. She said, “The reason that we treat people with latent TB infection, is to prevent it from ever progressing to active disease. Because in a small percentage of people, they might progress to active disease, depending on their body’s immune system.”

The Sacramento Bee reported that as many as 200 students could be tested.

Although TB, which spreads through the air, can be fatal, if caught early it can be dealt with using antibiotics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kasirye told the Bee that students who had not been in classes with the affected student could be tested by their private physician.

The school held a meeting to educate parents about the disease Monday night; eighty parents attended.

After the students are tested on Tuesday, medical staff will examine the results. If a student tests positive, chest x-rays will be performed to see if the virus is active. Symptoms of tuberculosis range from a cough that lasts more than three weeks to chest pain, fever, night sweats and a loss of weight not attributable to other factors.

Last February, according to the Bee, a student was diagnosed with the disease at Grant High School in Del Paso Heights. Kasirye stated when the diagnosis was made that she thought it would not spread, but five students as well as four friends and relatives of the student later showed evidence of the active disease. An incident where more than three people contract the disease is referred to as an outbreak.

Results from the tests of the Florin students will be released by the end of the school week or early next week.