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Suspect TB case reported in Denton County

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Denton County Health Department received a report October 5th of a possible case of active tuberculosis (TB).

The individual is a student at Denton High School in Denton Independent School District. In accordance with standard protocol, a clinical investigation was initiated and continues today.

Based on a positive skin test, clinical signs and a known link to a case, the reported individual has begun treatment for TB.

As the clinical investigation continues, familial contact and other close contacts are being identified and skin tested for TB exposure. Those skin tests will need to be repeated in eight weeks to verify the results.

In addition to close and familial contacts already identified, contact tracing and skin testing will begin, in conjunction with Denton ISD officials, at Denton High School. Plans will be developed soon for the skin testing to take place.

Only those with close and prolonged exposure (6 hours or greater) to an individual with active TB are considered at risk for TB. Skin testing is not recommended for people without known exposure to TB; in this instance, if the person does not have close contact with the suspect case.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne disease that affects the lungs, and can also affect other parts of the body. The symptoms of TB include coughing, chest pain, feeling weak, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. TB is spread through repeated and prolonged exposure to an infected person.

There are two types of TB: those with latent TB infection have been exposed to the germs that cause TB, but do not get sick or show symptoms, and are not contagious, because the germs are not active. However, those who get sick with TB disease have active TB germs, typically experience symptoms of the disease, and are considered contagious. Both types of TB are treated with medication and the outcome is almost always very good.

Additional information on TB can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/TB. In cooperation with Denton ISD, classmates and school staff members with close contact to the case will receive instructions on TB skin testing. Others may contact the Denton County Health Department at (940) 349-2900 for information on how to get tested.

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