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Dozens tested for TB at Waianae High after student falls ill

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Thirty-six Waianae High School students and staff members were tested for tuberculosis last week because of possible exposure from a student who has the disease, but no one was infected, state Department of Health officials said Wednesday.

The infected student is receiving treatment and is no longer attending school, officials said. No new cases of TB were found at the school.

Health officials were notified of the tuberculosis case Feb. 6.

The high school mailed a letter explaining the situation to the parents and guardians of all students Feb. 18. A meeting was held with parents and staff members to answer questions and TB testing was provided for all students and staff who shared the same classroom with the ill student.

“Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor contact to spread to others, so only those students with extended exposure in enclosed settings need to be tested,” said Dr. Richard Brostrom, chief of the department’s tuberculosis control branch. “The school screening is an extra measure of safety, and everyone who may have been exposed has been tested.” 

Brostrom added, “The student with tuberculosis is undergoing treatment at our clinic and is doing well. Usually, TB will not cause a problem for many years after the exposure. Screening students gives us an opportunity to prevent TB for those who might have been exposed.”

Tuberculosis is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and is spread from person to person through the air. health officials said. 

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