Fourteen at D.C. School Test Positive for Exposure to TB
March 26, 2003
District of Columbia health officials are recommending a lengthy drug regimen for ten students and four staff members at Cardozo Senior High School who tested positive for exposure to TB. The positive skin tests do not necessarily mean the students and school employees have active TB, but Michael Richardson, senior medical officer at the D.C. Health Department, said this preventative measure would ensure that any possible "chain of transmission" has been broken.Adapted from:
Richardson said that because all 14 people who tested positive were born outside of the United States, it is likely that they were exposed to TB before coming to Washington. He added that the absence of any U.S.-born students testing positive almost certainly means that the girl with active TB -- who enrolled only recently at Cardozo after emigrating from Central America -- did not likely spread the infection during her brief time there.
Although TB cases fell to an all-time low nationwide last year, dropping from 5.6 to 5.2 new cases per 100,000 population, the numbers increased in the Washington region. Maryland witnessed the highest increases, where new cases rose from 262 in 2001 to 306 last year. Nancy Baruch, Maryland's TB control chief, said the increases were mainly among the elderly in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. There was no appreciable change in the number of foreign-born people with TB last year, she said.
TB cases in D.C. reached 82 in 2002, up from 75 the year before, said Richardson. He added that most new cases were among U.S.-born black men and, increasingly, jail inmates. Virginia health officials also reported increases: There were 315 new cases last year, nine more than in 2001.
03.26.03; Avram Goldstein
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.