Health district wants 180 tested in Desert Oasis TB case

A contagious case of tuberculosis at Desert Oasis High School is being investigated, and 180 people have been sent letters to get tested for TB because they were exposed to the patient, a according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

Someone at the school was confirmed to have the disease, health district spokeswoman Stephanie Bethel said Thursday.

“I don’t know how the individual was diagnosed, but based on that diagnosis, we’ve launched an investigation,” Bethel said.

Public health officials have identified the person’s closest contacts including family, friends and students. Testing of those 180 people will take place over the next couple of weeks, and anyone who tests negative will be retested in eight to 10 weeks.

TB germs are spread through the air when a person with an active case of the disease of the lungs or throat talks, coughs or sneezes. People with TB do not spread the disease by shaking someone’s hand, touching bed linens, door knobs, or toilet seats, or sharing silverware, plates or cups.

The investigation is a routine response to determine the status of whoever had close contact with the person who has TB, Bethel said. Anyone who tests positive for TB will be offered treatment.

“These investigations keep TB under control in our community” Bethel said. “People get very concerned because it’s a serious illness, but it is a disease that can be cured.”

Contact Steven Moore at smoore@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Find him on Twitter: @ColtonLochhead.

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