Guam – The Department of Public Health and the Guam Department of Education are reporting “an individual” at John F. Kennedy High School has been diagnosed with an active case of tuberculosis (TB).
A release from public Health does not indicate whether the person is a student, teacher or administrator.
Public Health says the individual has been “taken out of the classroom,” and placed on TB medications. The person will not be allowed to return to the school until they have received a medical clearance.
Public Health’s Tuberculosis Control Program is working with school officials to identify all the people that the infected person may have come in close contact with the infected person.
In addition, all faculty and parents of students identified as close contacts will be notified by letter and provided information on the dates for the TB screening, and they must get screened for TB exposure.
Identified students and staff who do not complete the required TB skin test by May 23, will be excluded from school until the TB skin test has been completed. The exclusion is necessary to ensure that all affected students and employees receive the appropriate testing.
Public Health and Guam DOE will conduct free TB skin tests at the JFK a week from next Monday, May 16, from 8 am until 12 pm.
Exposure to TB does not result in the imediate onset of the disease.
It takes anywhere from 2-12 weeks in order to see evidence of TB infection which is shown by a positive TB skin test reaction.
Most people who get exposed to TB might be able to keep the infection inactive or latent.
However, children below the age of 5 years, people with Diabetes, or other immunosuppressive conditions may not be able to keep the infection under control and are at higher risk of developing active TB disease within a few months or 1-2 years after the exposure.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria causing tuberculosis, is carried through the air in infectious droplet nuclei too small for the naked eye (small air-borne particles less than 5 microns in size) which are produced when persons with tuberculosis of the lung or larynx sneeze, cough, speak or sing. People cannot get infected with TB bacteria through handshakes, sitting on toilet seats, or sharing dishes and utensils with someone who has TB disease.
Persons exhibiting symptoms of the disease such as a bad cough that lasts longer than two weeks, coughing up bloody sputum, weakness or fatigue, chills, weight loss, no appetite, fever and night sweats should contact their physician.
For more information you may call the Cecilia Teresa T. Arciaga, TB Control Program Manager at 735-3602/7157/7131 from 8 am-5 pm.