Tuberculosis

lungs with tuberculosis with microscopic bacteria

Tuberculosis


Potential Exposure at Capital High School in Boise (updated 9/26/2019)
Central District Health (CDH) recently received notice from a local health professional of a person diagnosed with active Tuberculosis (TB) and determined that a limited number of students and staff at Capital High School may have been exposed to this person with tuberculosis (TB) during January through May of the 2018-19 school year.

This person is no longer affiliated with Capital High School or the Boise School District. At this time, there is no known ongoing risk for TB exposure at the school and it is safe for students and staff to attend school and participate in activities as usual. The general public is not at an increased risk of getting TB as a result of this case.

CDH has contacted staff and students directly by mail who they have determined may have been exposed to the active case of TB and provided further information about evaluation and testing. Letters were mailed on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. No persons other than those contacted directly by CDH will need to take action. Staff and students who may have been exposed are encouraged to get tested for TB through their primary care provider, Central District Health or the local health district closest to them. CDH and BSD have informed all staff and parents with children at the school of the matter.

ABOUT TUBERCULOSIS (TB)

What is TB and how is it spread?
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually causes infection in the lungs, but TB bacteria can cause infection in any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. TB is a treatable illness.

TB bacteria spreads through the air from one person to another. Getting TB typically requires many hours of spending time near a person who is sick from TB. TB cannot be spread by touching doorknobs, tables, utensils or other surfaces.


What are the symptoms of a person sick with TB (also called TB disease or active TB)?
Some common symptoms of active TB include:

  • A cough lasting more than three weeks
  • Fever
  • Heavy sweating at night
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pain in the chest
  • Chills
  • Weakness or fatigue 

What is the difference between TB infection and TB disease?
People with latent TB infection have TB bacteria in their bodies but they are not sick and cannot spread the bacteria to others. However, they may develop TB disease in the future. They are often prescribed antibiotics to prevent them from developing TB disease.

People with TB disease are sick from TB bacteria. They usually have symptoms of TB disease. People with TB disease of the lungs or throat can spread the bacteria to others. They are prescribed drugs that can treat TB disease.


How is TB diagnosed?
TB infection is typically diagnosed by a skin or blood test. Results are available in one to three days. Most people who are infected will not be sick and cannot give TB to others. If a person is sick with symptoms due to TB, a chest X-ray is required, regardless of the blood test results.


RESOURCES

Central District Health TB Information Line: 208-321-2222 (staffed M-F from 8am - 5pm)
9/26/2019: Boise Schools & Central District Health Communication to Capital High Staff and Families
9/26/2019: Joint News Release from Central District Health and Boise Schools
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about TB
Basic TB Facts (link to CDC)
Exposure to TB Information
(link to CDC)