Active TB Diagnosed at High School in Washington State Where 15 Percent of Students are ‘English Language Learners’

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“Health officials are recommending that 240 people at Renton’s Hazen High School get tested for tuberculosis (TB) after someone at the school was diagnosed with the infectious disease,” the Seattle Times reported on January 12.

Hazen High School is part of the Renton School District, located in a King County, Washington city about 18 miles south of Seattle.

“Health officials recommended the tests at Hazen High School as a precaution after someone at the school was diagnosed with the infectious disease,” the Times noted.

According to the Renton School District’s website:

Renton School District offers an English Language Learner (ELL) program to students who need to develop English proficiency. We offer research-based instruction from ELL teachers in collaboration with mainstream teachers to effectively teach ELL students listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

• 15% of students in the Renton School District are enrolled in the ELL program.

• The number of ELL students served in the Renton School District has increased by 67% in the last 10 years.

• At least 85 home languages or dialects are spoken by Renton School District students.

As Breitbart News reported, 66 percent of all cases of active TB in the United States in 2015, or 6,350 out of 9,563, were diagnosed in foreign-born residents of the country.

At 76 percent, the foreign-born percentage of active TB cases was significantly higher in the state of Washington than in the rest of the United States in 2015.

Though the Hazen High School School Nurse’s webpage makes no mention of TB, it does mention pertussis, another disease associated with foreign-born residents of the United States:

 King County received 100 reports of confirmed pertussis between 1/1/12-3/31/12, more than the 98 reports received in all of 2011. Vaccinating eligible children and adults is the best way to prevent this disease.

News of the diagnosis of active TB in a Washington State high school follows several reports of similar diagnoses in two high schools in Minnesota, one high school in Nebraska, and one middle school in South Carolina.

All four of these high schools had significant populations of students participating in English Language Learner programs.

“Calling it a precaution, health officials are offering testing Jan. 18 at the school to determine if anyone has symptoms of active TB. Blood tests will also be offered to check if people are infected but without the symptoms, a condition known as latent TB,” the Times reported:

They’ve estimated about 240 people from the school community are at risk based on the amount of time they were exposed to the person with TB in indoor spaces.

Officials are not saying whether the person with TB is a student or employee to protect the person’s privacy, said James Apa, spokesman for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

“The person at Hazen with active TB is receiving treatment and is not a risk for infecting others, Apa said,” the Times reported:

 In 2015, 208 new cases were reported in Washington state, including 98 in King County.


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