Minnesota high school reports TB case

Published: Jan. 13, 2017 at 8:31 AM CST
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Selected students and staff members at St. Louis Park High School will be tested for Tuberculosis (TB) in the near future after a student or staff member was diagnosed with the illness in November.

St. Louis Park Public Schools Superintendent Rob Metz made the announcement in a letter mailed to every student and their families on Wednesday. Metz says the infected individual was in the building and contagious during September, October and part of November, and experts from the Hennepin County Department of Health want to test students and staff members who had close and prolonged exposure to the person with TB.

Investigators asked the school to wait to inform students and staff until those with the greatest risk of exposure were identified. It is also true that it takes several months for Tuberculosis to become identifiable by current testing methods.

The district has agreed to let testing take place at St. Louis Park High School on January 30 and 31. Officials are asking that testing permission forms for students be returned by Thursday, January 19.

Representative from the Hennepin County Department of Health can be reached at 612-382-8666 to answer any and all Tuberculosis and testing related questions. The district is also sharing a link.

Dr. Dean Tsukayama is the medical director the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic. He says symptoms include a cough that doesn't go away, fever, sweating at night and fatigue.

"I don’t think there is cause for alarm, but take it seriously. Get the kids tested," he said.

He said the treatment depends on if you have active tuberculosis or latent tuberculosis which means the patient doesn't have any symptoms. In both cases, the patient would take medication for several months but Tsukayama says then the infection is gone.

"You usually have a cough that goes on for weeks or months, fever, sweating at night, weight loss," he said.

He said the person who was infected with TB is on medication and doing well.