Health officials recommended the tests at Hazen High School as a precaution after someone at the school was diagnosed with the infectious disease.
Health officials are recommending that 240 people at Renton’s Hazen High School get tested for tuberculosis (TB) after someone at the school was diagnosed with the infectious disease.
Calling it a precaution, health officials are offering testing Jan. 18 at the school to determine if anyone has symptoms of active TB. Blood tests will also be offered to check if people are infected but without the symptoms, a condition known as latent TB.
They’ve estimated about 240 people from the school community are at risk based on the amount of time they were exposed to the person with TB in indoor spaces.
Officials are not saying whether the person with TB is a student or employee to protect the person’s privacy, said James Apa, spokesman for Public Health – Seattle & King County.
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TB is much harder to spread than a cold or the flu. Infection requires repeated exposure in confined spaces.
Only one in three people with close household contacts with a diagnosed carrier becomes infected, according to public-health officials.
The person at Hazen with active TB is receiving treatment and is not a risk for infecting others, Apa said.
Most cases of active TB are treated with antibiotics. Treatment can take up to nine months. Some strains of TB are drug-resistant and can require up to two years of treatment.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that can be spread through coughing, sneezing, speaking or singing. Symptoms include cough, fever, night sweats and weight loss.
In 2015, 208 new cases were reported in Washington state, including 98 in King County.
People with latent TB can’t spread it to others and are not ill with the disease, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. Roughly 100,000 people in King County have latent TB. Although they’re not contagious now they could be infectious with active TB in the future.