Atlee High School is safe from Tuberculosis - that was the big message at Monday night's special meeting, where parents of Atlee students were able to get their questions answered about the confirmed case of TB at the school.
"I didn't know if it was fatal, if you could get really sick from it...I didn't know, so tonight was very helpful in answering some of those questions for me," said Collen Lamb, parent of an Atlee sophomore.
Lamb was just one of over a dozen Atlee high School parents who are now able to breathe a sigh of relief after attending Monday's Tuberculosis educational session, put on by the Virginia Department of Health.
"Number one: there is no risk to the general public, because of this one case and number two: there is no ongoing risk to anybody at Atlee High School... so, this case has been identified they've been isolated, removed from the school setting," said Thomas Frank, Health Director of Chickahominy Health District.
Parents were reassured by Frank and other health professionals that Atlee High School is a safe environment for faculty and students.
"The little risk that exists is the risk of the close contacts, the people who have spent a good amount of time with the index case," said Frank.
The confirmed contagious case of TB was isolated from the general public. The next task is to find out if anyone may have contracted the dormant form of TB.
Latent TB, or TB infection, is when someone has been exposed to the bacteria that causes Tuberculosis. While the infection is there, there are no symptoms and it is not contagious.
Active TB, or TB Disease, is when the dormant TB wakes up and starts to grow in the body.
Symptoms may include fever, prolonged cough, nausea, weight loss etc.
The big take away is that even active TB takes a long time to contract. Only those who live with the confirmed case or spend a considerable amount of time breathing the same airspace as that individual are most at risk.
"It's spread person-to-person through the air, but it's not super contagious. In fact, as an infectious illness, it's one of the less contagious illnesses that can be out there," said Frank.
"It sounds like from everything the health department says that it takes a while for someone to get exposed, and therefore you should be reassured as I am that It's not as bad as everyone seems to make it out as," said Lamb.
Anyone who have have contracted the dormant form of TB will be contacted by health officials.
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