Virginia high school student contracts tuberculosis; health officials looking for other exposures

Virginia high school student contracts tuberculosis; health officials looking for other exposures

ORANGE COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - Health officials are working to determine if any other students were exposed after an Orange County High School student contracted tuberculosis.

Health officials said the disease is rare, but parents should not be overly concerned because it is treatable and hard to spread.

“People need to be appropriately concerned, but I think that they can be assured that we’ll get down to the bottom of anybody who might have been exposed and appropriately treat each one of those persons,” Dr. Wade Kartchner, director of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, told NBC29.

Health officials told NBC29 that a student would need to be exposed 120 hours to contract the disease. A person can contract the disease but may not have the full blown symptoms, unless the microbe is ingested into the lung.

The health department will bring in an official from Richmond to determine students most likely exposed. NBC29 reports that once the target group of students are identified, they will be given skin or blood tests.

“I think if they follow those recommendations then I think the parents should be assured that there will be no tuberculosis that will blossom into tuberculosis disease in Orange County, that won’t happen,” Kartchner told NBC29.

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