DARBY, Pa. (WPVI) — The Delaware County Health Department said a person at Penn Wood Middle School in the William Penn School District tested positive for tuberculosis.
Representatives are working to identify students and staff at the Darby school who may have been exposed to the disease.
The Department of Health emphasizes that students and staff can continue active learning in a school setting because TB is not as contagious as influenza and requires prolonged close contact (approximately at least 15 contact hours per week) to spread.
“The important first step is to identify close contacts of the infected person. Those identified as close contacts are notified by the Ministry of Health for testing arrangements,” the DCHD said in a statement released on Monday.
Concerned parents should call the Delaware County Health Department’s Wellness Line, available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by phone at (484) 276 – 2100 or by email at DelcoWellness@co .delaware.pa. we.
Tuberculosis is rare. The latest CDC data from 2021 shows 7,882 reported cases nationwide; 166 cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, New Jersey has reported 292 cases and Delaware has reported 41 cases.
“It’s a bacteria that people inhale into their lungs, and a lot of people inhale it and nothing happens for a while. The body walls it off and it lays dormant maybe for decades after the initial exposure. “, said Dr. Debra. Powell, chief of infectious diseases and acting chair of the department of medicine at Tower Health.
Powell says it can be latent and remain hidden or become active.
“What happens with active tuberculosis after you put this organism in your lungs, it starts to form like a type of pneumonia. It has an infection in the lungs and it gets into the airways and you start coughing and that’s why it’s infectious for In an active case, they have symptoms: childhood fever, cough, weight loss, night sweats, and these are people who are infectious,” she adds.
So how contagious is it?
“People we see getting TB are usually in the same household as the index case, or in the same classroom over a longer period of time. But usually no casual exposure to people like at the grocery store or in a hallway,” Powell said.
Tuberculosis is NOT spread by:
– shake someone’s hand
– sharing food or drinks
– touching sheets or toilet seats
– share toothbrushes
– to kiss
Here is more information about TB from the CDC:
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