High schoolers to get tested after TB diagnosis

April 11, 2013 10:45:35 AM PDT
Hundreds of students at an Antioch high school are set to be tested for tuberculosis today after a student there was diagnosed with the illness.

A student at Deer Valley High School was confirmed to have active tuberculosis on March 25th but is no longer infected, according to Contra Costa Health Services officials.

As health services officials investigate the recent case of tuberculosis, many Deer Valley High students will undergo precautionary testing.

School officials notified parents and guardians of students who may have been exposed to tuberculosis.

"We know parents may be concerned and we are working closely with the school officials to ensure all appropriate measures are taken to protect students," said Erika Jenssen, chief of the Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease program.

"Tuberculosis generally does not spread easily, and infection usually requires at least six to eight hours of close contact," Jenssen said.

Tuberculosis is caused by a germ that generally infects the lungs and can be spread via coughing, health officials said.

Contra Costa County saw 55 reported tuberculosis cases last year, according to health services officials.

Symptoms of active tuberculosis include fever, a prolonged cough, night sweats and unexpected weight loss of at least 10 pounds. The illness can be detected in its early stages with a simple skin or blood test.

Concerned students and parents can contact their health provider for further testing. More information about tuberculosis can be found at www.cchealth.org/tb or by calling 211.

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