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Students, faculty to be tested after confirmed case of TB at Benson High

Published: Nov. 30, 2016 at 3:29 PM CST
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Douglas County officials said Wednesday some students and faculty will need to be tested after they discovered a confirmed case of Tuberculosis at Benson High School.

By law, county health officials were notified 10 days ago after lab tests confirmed the student tested positive for TB. Health officials said they will now have to test 195 students and 12 faculty members who may have been exposed.

"We take the situation very seriously but there is no cause for alarm. Tuberculosis is a disease that generally develops over weeks to months, it is curable with medication," said Dr. Adi Pour.

Students have been out of school since the student was diagnosed. A person can be contagious for two to three weeks. Officials also said spread of TB is caused by long term exposure. The believe this is an isolated case, but a letter was sent out Monday to Benson parents.

The school is working with medical staff to conduct a thorough investigation of the patient’s period of infectiousness, close contacts, and usual activities (school and extra‐curricular).

According the CDC, people nearby the infected person may breathe in bacteria and become infected. It settles in the lungs and begins to grow. From there, the bacteria move through the blood to other parts of the body like the kidney, spine, and brain.

Symptoms may include a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or phlegm from deep inside the lungs.

Officials said there are around 15 active TB cases in the Douglas County area per year. A parent informational meeting will take place at Benson HS Thursday evening, December 1, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.