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Tuberculosis linked to three NISD high schools prompts testing

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SAN ANTONIO – Just a few days ago, San Antonio Metro Health said there was one confirmed case of Tuberculosis that was linked to three NISD high schools. The investigation determined Tuberculosis was linked at both Brandeis and Clark High Schools, along with O’Connor High School.

On Dec. 9, Metro Health said the infected person was off campus, in stable condition, and will return to school until no longer infectious. Metro Health and NISD said they'll continue to work closely together to identify others who may have been exposed and will keep parents, staff, and faculty informed of new developments.

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that typically affects the lungs. Usually, a person must have close contact with the infected person for a substantial length of time to contract the infection. Tuberculosis can be fatal.

The number of reported U.S. tuberculosis cases decreased sharply in 2020, possibly related to multiple factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CDC. A total of 7,860 TB cases were reported during 2021, 7,173 during 2020, and 8,900 during 2019. Approximately, 991 of those cases were reported in Texas back in 2021.

If you have active TB disease is in your lungs, you may cough a lot, lose your appetite, sweat a lot at night, and have chest pain when you cough. This disease can be treated by taking medicine.

According to Tommy Camden, Health Manager for the Tuberculosis Program at the City's Metro Health District, blood testing and questionnaires were done for 115 individuals at the three Northside campuses, O'Connor H.S., Brandeis H.S., and Clark H.S.

Camden says typically there are 70 to 100 Tuberculosis cases every year in Bexar County.

San Antonio Pulmonologist Dr. David Marks says Tuberculosis is an airborne disease and not as transmissible as COVID.

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"The problem with TB is it often goes undiagnosed, doctors may treat it as a chronic bacterial infection," Dr. Marks says Texas is the 2nd leading state in the country with Tuberculosis cases.

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