MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Testing for tuberculosis begins Monday for about 150 people at Saint Louis Park High School.
The students and staff members being tested may have had contact with someone in the school district who tested positive for the disease last November.
The Hennepin County Health Department’s Bill Belknap said they needed to wait two months until the skin tests could start.
“Tuberculosis does not spread easily, it does not take hold in a new body quickly and it does not present as an active disease very quickly,” he said.
Anyone who tests positive would be treated with antibiotics. Any positive results are expected to be latent cases, in which the person has the bacteria but is not ill.
“We have to wait two months for bacteria that may have been transmitted to be recognized by the body and for that immunity response to occur,” Belknap said. “We treat the latent infection before it becomes active.”
The identity of the person who had TB cannot be released because of privacy laws. The tests will be completed Tuesday and results are expected by the end of the week.
Tuberculosis is a highly infectious and potentially fatal disease that affects the lungs. It’s among a group of diseases constantly monitored by state health officials.
The testing at Saint Louis Park High School is being done free of charge.
There are about 1,400 students taking class at the high school building, which is where the infected person was when tested positive for TB.