Tuberculosis Testing Recommended for Wy’east Middle School.

Tuberculosis testing for 187 students and staff members at Wy’east Middle School in Vancouver, WA was recommended by Clark County Health officials because an active case of TB at the school was reported during the week of December 4, 2017 according to The Columbian newspaper on December 13, 2017.

TB is a potentially serious infection that primarily affects the lungs. TB can be latent — in the body but not causing symptoms and, therefore, not contagious — or active. Those with active TB, such as the person at Wy’east, can spread the disease to others.

TB is treated by a month long course of antibiotics.

The bacteria that cause TB are spread by tiny droplets released into the air when someone coughs or sneezes. It’s not as easily spread as many other communicable diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, because the germs cannot survive in the environment for long. Transmission usually requires being in close proximity to someone with the disease for a prolonged period of time, according to Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health Director.

There will be a free clinic in January at the school where students and staff members will receive free TB tests that involve an injection into the skin of the arm. The skin test must then be read by health officials within 48 to 72 hours. Public health officials will conduct a follow-up test-reading clinic at the school as well.  The health department is holding the testing clinic in January because it takes about eight weeks from exposure for a TB test to read positive, said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health director.

Health officials will also offer a blood test for those who have received a TB vaccine.



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