Tuberculosis testing at high school underway

(file photo)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — More than half of the people who may have had contact with a high school student who has tuberculosis have been tested for the illness.

Officials said last week that a male student from Kalamazoo Central High School student had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, which attacks the lungs and can spread to other organs. They said about 300 people who had direct contact with the student would have to be tested for the illness.

Thirteen adults and 169 students were tested Monday. Officials called it a “very good” day of testing.

Testing will continue Tuesday. At the end of the day, officials will determine whether anyone else needs to get tested.

The Kalamazoo County Health and Human Services Department is handling the testing and distributing test results.

The health department said at a press conference last week that it is unlikely anyone else has TB.

“There is not a very likely scenario that others will necessarily contract the disease. Very, very slim, rare chances of that even happening,” Linda Vail of the health department said. “Most people who are exposed to it will not contract the disease.”

There were 141 cases of tuberculosis in Michigan in 2013. Fewer than five of those were in Kalamazoo County. The disease is treated with a two- or three-month course of antibiotics. There is a vaccination for tuberculosis, but it is no longer required.



What you need to know about tuberculosis

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