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Are you at risk of getting Tuberculosis?

Experts: no, if no contact with infected person
Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 19:40:18-05

The Douglas County Health Department confirmed a Benson High School student tested positive for Tuberculosis.

About 200 people from Benson High School will be tested for TB and medical experts say those who were not in contact with the student will not be affected.

The DCHD said that nearly 1/3 of the world population has the bacteria infection.

“It is one of the most common encountered infections worldwide but uncommon in the U.S.,” said Nebraska Medicine Infectious Disease Doctor Trevor VanShooneveld.

He said that TB is an airborne bacteria, meaning when someone coughs, they spread it.

“Typically people who are going to get infected are people who have regular close contact with the person, people that live in the home, sit by for ours at a time,” said VanShooneveld.

VanShooneveld said that the health department will make sure all the right people get tested for TB. For those who live in the household with the student they have a 30-50% chance of being infected.

“You can become infected with it and never develop symptomatic disease.”

The treatment for TB is antibiotics. The symptoms that come with it are much like the flu, but develop slowly, you will get a fever, lose weight, cough, and many cough up blood.

“If you have been exposed and don't have symptoms, it’s easy to treat although requires a long time to treat, if you develop a symptomatic infection, relatively easy to treat but requires multiple antibiotics,” said VanShooneveld. 

The treatment period will depend on the symptoms but there should be no long term effects from TB.

Parents were invited to an informational meeting Thursday night.

The health department sent out letters to those who were affected by the Benson student.