School case of TB causes alarm
The state seeks tests of 160 Roosevelt High students following a classmate's illness
The state Department of Health wants to test about 160 students and staff at Roosevelt High School for tuberculosis after a student was diagnosed with the contagious disease in October and removed from the school.
The school warned parents of students who might have had close contact with the sick child in a letter Friday and asked that they sign up their children for TB testing, Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said yesterday.
All other parents should be notified about the case by week's end, she said.
The Health Department's TB control program director, Dr. Jessie Wing, has not seen another TB case in the schools in her eight years as head of the program, Okubo said.
"It's a fairly rare occurrence," Okubo said.
Although the student tested positive for TB in October, Okubo said the school had to wait for complete lab results confirming the bacterial disease before alerting parents.
On Monday the department will offer the group of 160 people free skin TB tests from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the school, Okubo said. It will also hold information sessions for parents tomorrow and next Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. at Roosevelt High.
Meanwhile, concerned parents can call the Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731.
All public school students are required to be tested for TB prior to enrollment. However, X-rays of students carrying the disease can test negative, Okubo said.
"A latent TB can become active," Okubo said.
The disease, which is spread through the air and usually attacks the lungs, can be fatal if not treated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can include weakness, weight loss, fever, night sweats, coughing and chest pain.
People afflicted with the disease are no longer contagious once treatment begins.