TB screening shows no new threat in the metro

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The test results are in and the Douglas County Health Department says they show no new risk of exposure to active TB disease at Benson High School.

Parents have been informed of the results from last week’s TB screenings at Benson Magnet High School.

“Our thorough investigation revealed no further risk of exposure to active TB disease at Benson High School,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “Seven individuals were positive for the TB bacteria, but they most likely have latent TB infections. They were contacted by phone and referred to their regular provider for antibiotic treatment to prevent development of TB disease.”

Families of students who had a negative TB test have been notified by mail. Those letters were expected to arrive yesterday.

After cross-checking records, it was determined that 191 people should have been screened for possible TB exposure. Of those, 90 percent participated in the free screening while others may have seen their own doctors.

“The clinic was a tremendous success and went very smoothly,” Dr. Pour said. “Our Health Department staff displayed the best of public health in action. They received outstanding support from the Omaha Public Schools, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Nebraska Public Health Lab, the University of Nebraska Medical Center Regional Lab, and the UNMC College of Public Health Student Response Team.”

Some important facts about tuberculosis: TB is a treatable bacterial infection that is spread from person-to-person through the air; people who are infected but do not yet have the disease (latent TB infection) cannot pass it on to others; and tuberculosis is treatable with the right medicine.

Symptoms of TB disease include weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. People who have tuberculosis may be coughing for three weeks or longer, have chest pains, and in some cases may be coughing blood.