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School student diagnosed with Tuberculosis, other students to be tested

Updated: Tuesday, September 10 2013, 10:49 AM CDT
A Lancaster County student was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) this week, and now school officials say other students will be tested to see if they were exposed to the illness.

Officials at Wheatland Middle School sent home a letter to parents on Monday, informing them about the case.

According to the letter, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has the responsibility to identify those who have been exposed to the illness.  The School District of Lancaster is cooperating with the Department of Health and is providing them with a list of students and staff that may have been exposed to the ill person. 

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs, speaks, sings or sneezes.

Officials say TB is not spread from casual contact with someone from kissing or sharing food and drink.

When someone is exposed to TB, their immune system protects them and they do not become ill, but the bacteria can remain dormant.

Symptoms of Active TB disease include a cough that lasts longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pain, night sweats, fatigue, weakness, nausea, fever, chills and coughing up blood.

The school district says the Department of Health will determine who should have a Mantoux screening test to determine if they were exposed to the illness. This screening involves a small amount of fluid being placed under the skin of the arm and then checked 48 hours later.

The Department of Health will conduct the tests at Wheatland Middle School in the near future, the school district said in a letter to parents. Results of the Mantoux screening will determine if further steps and treatment are necessary.

For more information, visit or student diagnosed with Tuberculosis, other students to be tested

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