Health officials issue warning on TB
Fifty-one people may have been exposed to tuberculosis at two Edmonton Catholic schools, but Alberta Health Services says there is no risk to the general public.
In a news release Wednesday, AHS confirmed it has notified 51 people who were “potentially exposed” to a confirmed case of tuberculosis at two Edmonton-area schools that were not named.
Both schools are in the Edmonton Catholic school district, spokesperson Dana Prefontaine confirmed, but she could not identify the schools or grade levels for privacy reasons.
Notification letters have been sent to people who were potentially exposed containing information about screening and treatment options.
Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly infection that attacks the lungs.
AHS officials say there is a low risk of transmitting the disease, and that only those who have received letters are considered exposed. There is no risk to either school.
AHS released information about the exposures “as a matter of transparency.” However, the schools are not being named to protect patient confidentiality, according to a release.
“If we identify the schools, that narrows down the pool of potential patients,” AHS spokeswoman Kirsten Goruk said.
The province’s TB Services and Communicable Disease Control teams and the Edmonton Zone Medical Officer of Health are providing followup screening.
There have been 19 confirmed cases of pulmonary tuberculosis in Alberta this year, not including cases diagnosed on indigenous reserves. Ten of those were in the Edmonton health zone and six were in Calgary.
A vaccine known as BCG is used to prevent the spread of tuberculosis in some parts of the world, but has not proved effective in preventing the spread of tuberculosis in North America and is not routinely used, according to health officials.