Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis screen­ing ex­panded to in­clude Stethem

Iden­ti­fied in­di­vid­ual vis­ited ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter after school hours

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

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.

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