Tuberculosis screening expanded to include Stethem
Identified individual visited education center after school hours
Charles County Department of Health’s testing for tuber- culosis has been expanded to include the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center as well as La Plata High School, according to Charles County Public Schools.
The school system notified the public Wednesday that the health department had reported a case of tuberculosis in an individual at La Plata High School.
On Friday, the school system sent a news release stating that the individual, who is not being identified, also frequented Stethem after school hours.
gan emailing and mailing exposure letters Nov. 18 to staff and parents of students who may have had extended contact with the diagnosed individual.
Those who do not re- ceive an exposure letter do not need to be tested at this time, the release states.
As of Friday, the school system had identified 300 individuals for screening. School system officials previously said approxi- mately 350-400 individuals may need to be tested.
The health department will provide free screen- ings to identified individuals at La Plata on Dec. 5 and Stethem on Dec. 6. Nurses will read the tests two to three days later.
If the first test is neg- ative, a second test will be administered approxi- mately 12 weeks later, af- ter winter break.
Tuberculosis is a bac- terial illness typically spread when the infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, and individuals breathe in the air containing the tuberculosis germs, according to an online fact sheet published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tuberculosis generally requires prolonged exposure to the infected indi- vidual in order to breathe in enough tuberculosis germs to cause an in- fection, and is not trans- mitted through physical contact or sharing eating utensils, according to the letter sent home to par- ents.
Additional information about tuberculosis can be found on the department of health’s website at www.charlescountyhealth.org.