Health district clearing up high school TB rumors - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Health district clearing up high school TB rumors

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The Southern Nevada Health District will test students and staff who had close contact with an individual diagnosed with TB. (File/FOX5) The Southern Nevada Health District will test students and staff who had close contact with an individual diagnosed with TB. (File/FOX5)

A tuberculosis investigation at a Henderson high school has parents and students panicked, with plenty of misinformation going around, according to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD).

The health district Friday said it is trying to squash those rumors and assure the public there is no need for hysteria.

The health district further said that as the investigation stands, there is only one individual from Coronado High School with a confirmed active case of tuberculosis. However, SNHD did say that number could change when test results come back.

What medical professionals stressed is that tuberculosis is more common in Clark County than many think, and the rumors at Coronado High are greatly exaggerated.

"Everyone freaking out won't really change much of the problem," Coronado 10th-grader Gabe Cohen said.

The health district will begin testing dozens of students identified as at risk of exposure next week.

"Over social media, we've heard stuff like half the school has it, teachers have it, someone's biology teacher had it," Gabe said.

FOX5's newsroom has received numerous phone calls and messages from parents inquiring about those rumors. Some want to know why the health district didn't begin the testing process sooner.

"First of all, we're not chasing someone who's got active tuberculosis. We know who that is," SNHD Chief Health Officer Dr. Joe Iser said.

Iser said that because the incubation period for tuberculosis is between two and 12 weeks, a quick round of tests would have been a waste of time and money as it would not have yielded reliable results.

Iser also said there is confusion over the difference between active and latent tuberculosis.

"Nine out of 10 people who develop latent TB will never come down with active TB," he said.

Only those with active tuberculosis can spread it through coughing. Iser admitted there could be another active case at Coronado.

"I'll be honest with you, I'd be surprised if we didn't [find one]," he said.

The Clark County School District released a statement which says, in part, "We are not aware of any additional students or staff from Coronado High School who are exhibiting symptoms of TB."

Iser said there are between 85 and 100 active cases of tuberculosis in Clark County each year. The health district conducts one or two active investigations every week.

In fact, Iser said the Coronado case is the second active investigation the health district is working on right now.

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