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Solano Public Health and Armijo High School partner to respond to active tuberculosis case
February 16, 2017
Solano Public Health and Armijo High School partner to respond to active tuberculosis case SOLANO COUNTY – County Public Health and Armijo High School officials are working together to respond to a case of active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) disease associated with Armijo High School. In order to protect patient privacy and confidentiality, no specific information about the individual will be released by Solano Public Health or Armijo High School.
"Our number one priority is to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff at Armijo High School," said Michael Stacey, MD, MPH, Deputy Health Officer and TB Controller for Solano County Health and Social Services. “The individual with active pulmonary TB disease is receiving treatment and will return to the school campus only after Public Health has provided clearance. We want to reassure everyone that there is no ongoing risk of TB infection from the active TB case at this time. Parents and guardians are encouraged to send their children to school and staff should report to work as usual.”
A letter was sent to all parents, guardians and staff today letting them know about the case of active pulmonary TB disease at Armijo High School. A second letter will be mailed to parents, guardians and staff next week, letting them know if their children, and in the case of staff, themselves, have been identified as a close contact of the TB case.
“We care deeply about the health and well-being of our students and staff and their safety is of utmost importance to us,” said Eric Tretten, Armijo High School Principal. “Armijo High School is cooperating fully with Solano Public Health. We are doing everything we can to identify everyone that the TB case has been in contact with so that they can be properly assessed by public health officials.”
TB is a serious, treatable and slow-growing bacterial disease. It usually affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other parts of the body, including the brain, kidneys and spine. TB is transmitted person-to-person through microscopic droplets that enter the air when a person with active pulmonary TB disease coughs, sneezes, talks or sings. People who breathe in air containing TB bacteria can become infected; however, not everyone infected with TB becomes sick.
The most common way a person may become infected with TB is by spending a lot of time in an enclosed space with a person who has active pulmonary TB disease.
“Contact investigations, like the one currently under way, are an important step in stopping the spread of TB,” says Dr. Stacey. “It is important that we evaluate everyone who has had prolonged close contact in an enclosed space with the TB case and test them. We will treat individuals with antibiotics, if necessary, to prevent the development of active TB disease.”
It is important to note that not everyone who has a TB infection will go on to develop TB disease. There is a difference between TB infection and active TB disease, including:
People with TB infection:
- Do not have disease and are not sick because the bacteria are inactive
- Have TB bacteria in their bodies
- Cannot spread the TB bacteria to others
- Have about a 10 percent risk of developing active TB disease during their lifetime
People with active pulmonary TB disease:
- Are ill from the bacteria that are active in their body
- May cough a lot, feel weak, have a fever, lose weight, cough up blood or sweat a lot at night
- Are contagious and may spread the infection to others until they are treated and have repeated TB tests
- Can be treated and cured
- Can resume public contact once cleared by a doctor
Solano County Public Health, Armijo High School and school district officials are working together to schedule a TB screening / testing clinic at Armijo High School. Students, parents and staff will be notified of the clinic date, time and location when the second letter is mailed out next week.
In the meantime, a town-hall style public information meeting, including a question and answer period, will be hosted on Tuesday, February 21 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Armijo High School in the gymnasium, located at 824 Washington St. in Fairfield.
For more information on TB, visit the California Department of Public Health at www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/tb/Pages/default.aspx and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov/tb/default.htm