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PRESS RELEASE & CONFERENCE: Solano Public Health and Laurel Creek Elementary School partner to respond to active tuberculosis case
April 23, 2018
--- PRESS CONFERENCE TUESDAY, APRIL 24 ---
***Starting at 2:00PM***
Solano County Administration Center, 6th Floor
675 Texas Street, Fairfield, CA 94533
Solano Public Health and Laurel Creek Elementary School partner to respond to active tuberculosis case SOLANO COUNTY – County Public Health and Laurel Creek Elementary School officials are working together to respond to a case of active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) disease associated with the school in Fairfield. In order to protect patient privacy and confidentiality, no specific information about the individual will be released by Solano Public Health or Laurel Creek Elementary School.
"Our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff at Laurel Creek," 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. TB is a disease that can be treated and prevented, and we want to reassure everyone that there is no ongoing risk of 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 on Monday letting them know about the case of active pulmonary TB disease at Laurel Creek Elementary School. Parents were also notified by phone and email.
“We care deeply about the health and well-being of our students and staff, and their safety is our top priority,” said Todd Bennett, Laurel Creek Elementary School Principal. “Laurel Creek Elementary School is cooperating fully with Solano Public Health. We are taking all the necessary steps to make sure people identified as at risk for exposure are properly assessed by public health officials.”
TB is a serious, treatable and slow-growing bacterial disease. It usually affects the lungs 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.
“We have already taken steps to determine who is at risk of being infected with TB in this situation,” says Dr. Stacey. “It is important that we identify those who have had prolonged close contact in an enclosed space with the TB case and test them. If necessary, we will treat individuals with antibiotics to prevent the development of active TB disease.”
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:
- Have TB bacteria in their bodies
- Do not have disease and are not sick because the bacteria are inactive
- 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 infectious and may transmit 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
In the meantime, a town-hall style public information meeting, including a question and answer period, will be hosted on Wednesday, April 25, 5:00pm to 6:00pm at the Laurel Creek Elementary School Cafeteria located at 2900 Gulf Drive in Fairfield. In coordination with the school district, Solano Public Health will schedule a TB screening/testing clinic at the school the following week.
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