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Local and Community News

West Seattle School Reports 2nd Case of TB

April 4, 2003

Public Health-Seattle & King County officials said Wednesday they will test 200 students and staff at Madison Middle School for tuberculosis on May 13, after a second student was diagnosed with an active case of the disease. An earlier contagious case was reported in January. Two active cases of TB were reported at West Seattle High in December and February, but they are not linked to the Madison cases, officials said. All four of the patients are recovering with treatment, they said. "Certainly four cases in our schools is something that we have not experienced before," said PHSKC Director Alonzo Plough. "It is another indication of the need to keep this disease under control."

The health department is coping with the biggest surge in TB in 30 years, especially among the homeless, although none of the school cases is linked to the homeless outbreak. Last year, 158 cases were reported, compared to the usual 115-130 cases. Cases more than doubled, to 29, among the homeless. Already this year, 40 cases -- including 17 among the homeless -- have been diagnosed. No case has been resistant to drugs, as some East Coast cases have been.

In March, TB skin tests were conducted on 194 Madison Middle School students and staff who had close contact with the first case there. Twenty-two tested positive, with only one active TB case. Many of the Madison students who tested positive for latent TB were born in foreign countries where the disease is much more widespread, and they may have contracted the bacteria there, officials said. DNA testing is being conducted to see whether the second case is the same strain as the first, said Dr. Masa Narita, PHSKC director of TB control. Identical strains would indicate the first case transmitted TB to the second case. "This case is not as contagious as the previous one," said Narita. It takes about two months after exposure for a new infection to be verified by a skin test.

Back to other CDC news for April 4, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Seattle Times
04.03.03; Warren King



  
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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.
 

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