LAS VEGAS — The Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed that 14 Coronado High School students have tested positive for latent tuberculosis.
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In November, a person at the school was identified as being infected with TB.
Officials would not disclose if the infected person was a student or member of the staff, however, students at the school noticed that a particular student had been absent for an extended period of time.
According to 2009 data available from the CDC, 60% of TB cases in the United States occurred in foreign-born individuals. The majority of U.S. cases among foreign-born individuals are in people from Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam, India, China,Haiti, and Guatemala.
Mandatory diagnostic tests were ordered for over 300 students and staff members in November. An additional round of tests was ordered after some of the testing samples were allegedly contaminated.
Following established medical protocols, mandatory additional required follow-up testing revealed that 14 Coronado High School students have tested positive for latent tuberculosis.
In an effort not to spread panic to students and their families, health officials are on a mission to inform parents, students and the public that those people affected with the latent form of tuberculosis cannot spread the disease to others and are at a very low risk of developing the disease.
If the risk was so minimal then it really would not be classified as a disease, would it?
The Southern Nevada Health District, has a 32-page guide from the CDC, “Latent Tuberculosis – A Guide for Primary Health Care Providers“, designed for medical professionals treating those with latent tuberculosis.
The guide states that those infected with latent tuberculosis have a five to 10 percent chance of developing the disease without treatment, indicating that treatment is necessary to manage what is likely to be a life-long disease.
The most widely prescribed medication, Isoniazid is a treatment that some health care providers oppose due to the length of time that a person must take it and also because of known side effects such as headaches, poor concentration, weight gain, problems with memory, depression, insomnia and even suicidal thoughts. It can also cause severe, and in rare cases, fatal liver damage.
Latent tuberculosis, though a largely manageable disease, is nevertheless a serious disease, and the students infected with latent tuberculosis face years more than the normal amount of doctors visits versus healthy individuals to monitor their health, especially if they have any other medical issues.