High school in Antioch looks to stop spread of TB

April 9, 2013 12:47:48 PM PDT
Contra Costa County health officials are dealing with a case of tuberculosis in a student at Deer Valley High School in Antioch. That means students and staff who were exposed may have to be tested a couple of times.

Health officials say that the student is okay and is no longer infectious and is back at school. So now the focus is on making sure the TB doesn't spread.

Health care workers will be at Deer Valley High School on Thursday to test students for TB, but some parents say they don't think they can wait that long.

"I wish it were today, because you want to make sure and you want to know, but I'm sure everything will be fine," said parent Kristen Vistalli.

"I'll get her tested. As a matter of fact when she gets home from school today I'll take her," said parent Dena Shirk.

A student at the school tested positive for TB in March. After conducting an investigation, health officials decided all kids in the infected student's classes and extracurricular activities should be tested. Those parents were called yesterday.

"It's a little unnerving because it is a serious situation, but I think they are doing what they can to inform everybody and to take the precautions and do the testing," said Vistalli.

The last time health care workers tested for TB on a Contra Costa campus was 2009, when a student at Antioch High had the disease.

"I was surprised, but that is how you find out things, they come out of nowhere, it is always unexpected, you never know. But that is a good thing that the school is going to do everything they can to make sure that everyone is aware of it," said parent Johnny Turner.

"TB is a serious disease, but is also treatable and curable," said Communicable Diseases Chief Erika Jenssen.

Health officials say you can have the disease and not realize it, that's why testing is important. They can treat the infection before it turns into the disease.

"If someone has TB disease, they are sick. So they have symptoms of coughing, along with fever, unintended weight loss of more than 10 pounds, night sweats. And those people that have TB disease can spread it to other people," said Jenssen.


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