A student at Mountain Crest High School has been identified with active tuberculosis, according to the Cache County School District and Bear River Health Department.
“This is a serious disease,” Estee Hunt, public information officer with the health department, told The Herald Journal. “That’s why we’re testing individuals.”
Hunt said students who had had close or prolonged contact with the individual are being tested.
It is important for the entire student body and staff to be aware of the active case, but only a small group of individuals are likely to have had close and prolonged contact and be at risk.
Hunt said skin tests are being conducted.
“TB is spread through the air from one person to another, but it is not spread by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes, or kissing,” Dr. Prafulla Garg, medical director of the Bear River Health Department, said in the news release issued on Monday afternoon.
The disease develops only about 5% to 10% of the time in an exposed individual, according to information from the health department, but testing of exposed individuals is highly recommended in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
“TB is a serious disease, and proactive testing is necessary to help prevent further spread and avoid severe complications,” Garg said.
Complimentary testing will be made available to anyone the health department, in cooperation with the school, has identified as being at risk for exposure. The department encourages students and staff with weakened immune systems to get tested.
The health department started contacting and testing affected students and faculty at the school on Monday and will continue on and Tuesday, March 14. The health department will work with individuals based on their exposure to determine if follow-up testing, usually between eight to 10 weeks, is necessary.
Individuals who are not determined to be at-risk and would like testing should contact their health care provider or visit the South Logan Office of the Bear River Health Department, 635 S. 100 East, Logan. For more information, visit brhd.org or call the tuberculosis hotline at (435) 792-6567.
The signs and symptoms of active TB disease are prolonged cough, fevers, chills, night sweats, weight loss, loss of appetite or chest pain, according to the health department. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your health care provider or seek medical care.
“We love our partnership with the Bear River Health Department,” said Tim Smith, public information officer with the Cache County School District. “This is their arena more than ours.”
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