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County Reports TB Case At High School

Roosevelt County Health Department officials have identified a single case of active tuberculosis (TB) in Wolf Point High School. The individual identified is complying with isolation precautions and is receiving medication to treat the illness.

Wolf Point High School is working closely with the health department and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to investigate the TB case further. To control the spread of disease, it has been determined that all staff and students at the high school should be tested for tuberculosis. Testing began on Monday, May 1, at the high school for students and staff members.

“Tuberculosis is a disease that can be treated and prevented,” Patty Presser, director of Roosevelt County Health Department, said. “Identifying and screening people who may have been exposed is an essential intervention, as is ensuring treatment of the ill individual. We have both these interventions in place to prevent the spread.”

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain. TB is spread through the air by coughing, laughing, singing and sneezing. The only way to contract the disease is by close contact (several hours a day) with someone who has the disease. It cannot be spread by contact with someone’s clothing, drinking glass, eating utensils, handshake, toilet or other surfaces. Symptoms of TB can include a cough of longer than three weeks, unexplained wight loss, night sweats, chills, fever and coughing up blood. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and active TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

TB disease is typically treated for six to nine months with antibiotics. A person with TB will become non-contagious within a few days to weeks of effective treatment and will be able to return to normal activities without risk to others while completing treatment.

For further information about TB, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website: www.

For questions, contact Roosevelt County Health Department at 406653-6223.

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