HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Students and medical experts are speaking out after a confirmed case of Tuberculosis. The health department is now working to figure out if anyone else was exposed.
Experts say this is something that must be taken seriously due to TB being a highly contagious disease that can be fatal if left untreated.
The word spread quickly.
"I heard about it in History," student Nathan Stephens said.
"We got a letter today during second block," student Olie Crone added.
"The Hanover Health Department received confirmation of one active case of Tuberculosis at Atlee High School," the letter said.
"There's a lot of people like 'Oh, who is it.' Everyone is texting and putting it on Snapchat," said student Katie Laine.
"If we don't know, we could just pass them every day in the hall, and it could get worse," Stephens said.
That's why one person has been contained in an effort to keep the school safe, especially since teachers and students are in close quarters, often for long periods of time.
"TB is spread when someone who has active TB cough, talk, laugh, or sneeze…It can really be passed on to several people and become an epidemic to an entire community and be hard to treat if not controlled," said RN Zara Morgan.
So how do you know if you've been exposed?
The symptoms include coughing up blood, fever, fatigue, chest pain, even night sweats and loss of appetite - small signs that can cause big problems.
"Affect your lungs, where you have problems breathing later on, which can also lead to death later on if it's not treated," Morgan added.
Atlee High is working with the health department to offer free testing to those who may be at risk.
"The teachers are freaking out, and they're putting hand sanitizer everywhere," Crone said.
The disease can be treated with medication. Because so many might have questions about this, a community meeting is being scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5 at the Atlee High Auditorium at 7 p.m. with medical experts on hand.
Click here for more information on TB.
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