Tuberculosis Case Confirmed at East High School

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – We’re learning more about a potentially deadly, contagious disease that was found in a student at Rockford’s East High School.

Although there is a risk to catching the disease, it doesn’t seem to be high, because in order to catch it you must be exposed to it for a long period of time.

The unidentified student at East High School was tested on April 29th and the case was just confirmed yesterday, although that student has been out of school since April 24th.

Back in 2004, another East High student got tuberculosis. At that time, 1,200 students were tested but no other infection was found. Health experts say the chance of more infection this time around is unlikely.

“Sitting in a gymnasium full of individuals watching a high school basketball game for an hour, would not expose people to infection because of the proximity of the room, the number of people present, and those kinds of things. Doing it every day for a month in a smaller size area, may put people at risk for infection,” said Dee Dunnett with the Winnebago County Health Department.
The district will test students on Tuesday and the following Tuesday, May 21st. Parents must sign a consent form, which went home with kids today. As a precaution, there will be another round of testing in August. Symptoms include a bad cough lasting more than three weeks, coughing up blood, chills or fever.

Concerning the treatment of tuberculosis, someone with TB will get on medication and after two weeks if they no longer have the bacteria, they can return to regular activities. Follow-up treatment can last up to 9 months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control. Tuberculosis spreads through the air from one person to another, so if you or your kids are round someone with TB for an extending period of time and they cough or sneeze, you might be at risk. TB is not spread by sharing food or drinks, kissing, or just touching the same objects.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A deadly disease is being reported at Rockford's East High School. A student came down with Tuberculosis.

So starting next week the school will offer free TB tests. We're told the infected student is no longer at school and is at home resting. Tuberculosis is rare and often attacks the lungs. It is treatable and spreads through the air.

MAY 7, 2013 – Rockford Public Schools administrators learned today from the Winnebago County Health Department that an East High School student has a confirmed case of tuberculosis, or TB. As a precaution, administrators are encouraging East students to take a TB test, which will be offered during school hours Tuesday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 21 at the school, free of charge. All East students and staff will have the option to be tested. Or, if they choose, they may schedule a test with their primary care physician.

Tuberculosis is a rare but treatable illness caused by bacteria. It’s spread through the air through coughing, sneezing, speaking or singing. It’s not spread by sharing food or drink or via casual contact.
The affected student is at home receiving treatment and is no longer in school. Privacy regulations prohibit administrators from further identifying this student.

Parents of East High School students were notified via automated phone call this evening and letters will be sent home with further information. Nurses and a representative from the Winnebago County Health Department will meet with staff Wednesday. Parents will receive updates via automated phone call.
More about tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Bacteria usually attack the lungs but can attack the kidney, spine, brain or other body parts.

Signs and symptoms:
-A bad cough lasting three weeks or more
-Chest pains
-Coughing up blood or phlegm from deep inside the lungs
-Weakness or fatigue
-Weight loss and lack of appetite

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