NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Parents in the Glen Cove School District are waiting to hear if their children were exposed to tuberculosis after a student was treated for the illness, the district superintendent and the Nassau County Department of Health said.
Superintendent Joseph A. Laria told parents in a letter on Tuesday that health department officials informed him that “an individual in this district is presently receiving treatment for tuberculosis.” The district posted a copy of the letter on the Web site.
It was not immediately clear what grade the patient attended or what school or schools may have been affected.
Laria said the “individual is no longer at school; therefore, there is no further risk of transmission.”
Nassau County Health Department spokesperson Mary Ellen Lorrain said that the department is making every effort to offer services for those who may have been infected.
LISTEN: Interview With Nassau County Health Department Spokesperson Mary Ellen Lorrain
“Through our investigation, all individuals who have been in close and prolonged contact with this person have been contacted and will be offered a TB skin test or if they don’t want to have the skin test through the Department of Health, they can get that through their health care provider,” Lorrain said in an interview with 1010 WINS.
Tuberculosis germs are spread via airborne contact and affect the lungs, brain, kidney and spine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be lethal.
Lorrain said people must be aware of the effects of prolonged exposure.
“Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease, usually affecting the lungs. It’s spread through the air when a person with untreated TB coughs or sneezes,” she said. “Usually, it’ll take prolonged exposure for a person with untreated TB to spread the infection.”
The general symptoms include “feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats,” according to the CDC. TB also causes coughing, chest pain, and coughing blood.
Lorrain said that although it is dangerous, it’s not too uncommon.
“It would require prolonged and close contact. We are offering tests to those who have had that to make sure they haven’t contracted any infection. Usually in Nassau County we see about 40 cases of tuberculosis a year.”
Treatments for the disease include the use of several drugs and can last six to 12 months.
The TB vaccine is “not generally recommended in the United States” because the vaccination “does not completely prevent people from getting TB,” according to the CDC.