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Health Department Advising Parents about TB Case

By Deb Millsap

January 08, 2015

Collier: A student at Lely High School has recently been identified as having active tuberculosis (TB). The student is under treatment, doing fine, and will not return to school until it is determined by the Florida Department of Health in Collier County (DOH-Collier) that they are no longer infectious. DOH-Collier, with assistance from the school’s administration, has identified individuals who may have been exposed to TB germs in this case.

Parents of students and school faculty who may be at risk of past exposure are being notified today via letters being sent home with students and a phone message to the parents’ phones. A test known as T-SPOT shows if TB germs have infected a person. Staff and the parents of the children who have spent a significant amount of time with this case will be notified immediately if they need to be tested for TB. If a notice has not been received, there is no need to be tested at this time.

On January 21st, DOH-Collier staff will be at the school providing free testing to all at risk contacts during school hours. For parents and faculty who have concerns or questions, the health department will have a TB Information Phone Line (239-252-6220) available Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm. In addition, parents and faculty are invited to an informational meeting on Thursday, January 15th in the Lely High School Auditorium at 6:30 pm.

TB is caused by breathing TB germs into the lungs. The most common way to become infected with TB germs is by spending a lot of time with a person who has active TB. TB is rarely spread to persons who spend a small amount of time with an active case of TB.

There is a difference between TB infection and TB disease. People with TB disease are sick from the germs that are active in their body and they may cough a lot, feel weak, have a fever, lose weight, cough up blood, or sweat a lot at night. People with TB disease are capable of giving the infection to others. People with TB infection (without disease) have the TB germ in their body, but they are not sick because the germ is inactive. They cannot spread the germ to others. About one out of ten people with TB infection become sick with TB disease. TB can be treated and cured.