No new cases of tuberculosis have been reported at Northern High School since a student there was diagnosed with the disease iearly October.
The Durham County Department of Public Health has evaluated 223 students and staff members at Northern for potential tuberculosis exposure after a student tested positive for active TB, according to a press release.
“Our investigation is ongoing,” said medical director Arlene Seña. “However, at this time we have not identified any other students or staff at the school with active TB disease. Most people who have been exposed to tuberculosis will never develop active disease.”
Tuberculosis is spread through the air when someone who is infected with the bacteria coughs, speaks, laughs, sings or sneezes.
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The disease is transmitted when people breathe TB germs into their lungs. Exposed individuals can then develop active disease, but the majority will develop latent TB infection, which means that they are not sick and only have inactive TB germs in the body. Symptoms of tuberculosis include a cough that lasts three or more weeks, fever, sweating at night, and weight loss.
Active tuberculosis requires treatment for six to 12 months.
Seña said there will be more follow-ups at Northern.
“We will continue to evaluate persons who have been potentially exposed to TB in our investigation to minimize any future transmission in our community,” Seña said.
In 2016, there were 11 cases of active tuberculosis in Durham County.