Tuberculosis cases confirmed at Durham high school and Lumberton middle school

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020
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Tuberculosis cases confirmed at 2 NC schools

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two separate cases of tuberculosis have been confirmed at two North Carolina schools.

The first confirmed case of tuberculosis was reported Monday at Lumberton Junior High School. Later that same day, Durham Public Schools (DPS) sent a letter to parents of students at Northern High School announcing that a possible tuberculosis case at that school was under investigation. Tuesday, Durham Public Schools confirmed the test came back positive.

DPS said it was working with Durham County Department of Public Health to contact anyone who may have been exposed to the disease. At this time, "no one is at immediate risk of any health problems," according to the DPS letter.

"That individual was at the school a couple of weeks ago, is not at the school as of today," DPS representative Chip Sudderth said. "When the Public Health Department notified us that somebody at our school had tested positive for tuberculosis, we moved into action."

The school system said it was making parents aware of the situation. Anyone exposed to tuberculosis would received a letter in the coming week with instructions on how to proceed. DPS said the majority of students will not be contacted and don't need any testing or treatment for tuberculosis.

"We're reaching out to let everybody know what happened, reassure them that it is not an emergency," Sudderth said. "It is not an immediately dangerous disease, but that the people who may have been exposed need to be tested to be sure."

Health officials did not say if a student, teacher or staff member is being investigated as either of the tuberculosis cases. In October 2017, a student from Northern High School tested positive for the disease.

According to Public Schools of Robeson County, there is a confirmed case of tuberculosis at Lumberton Junior High School.

Similar procedures are in place for students at that school--they will be contacted if they need to be tested for the disease.

Tuberculosis is an extremely contagious bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who are infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis don't have symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they usually include coughing, sweating and fever.

Tuberculosis is not an immediate life-threatening emergency. It usually develops over weeks to months and is completely curable with medications.