MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Three more students have tested positive for tuberculosis at the Charlotte Center School, but none of the students and adults who have tested positive for exposure to the disease since January have developed active cases of the disease and there is no danger to the public, the Health Department said Monday.
A total of 19 children and two adults have tested positive out of 349 students and 84 adults who have been tested and evaluated at the Charlotte Central School. They’re offered chest X-rays and a medical checkup to be sure they have not developed an active case of the disease, said Vermont Epidemiologist Patsy Kelso. If they are not sick, they’re offered nine months of treatment with antibiotics.
“These additional students who are positive are no risk for anyone around them because they’re not symptomatic,” Kelso said. “They don’t have active TB disease; they are not able to infect anyone around them.”
None of the 12 adults and 19 children tested at the Freedom Rains daycare center in Colchester tested positive, officials said.
The Charlotte case began in January after an unidentified female employee was found to have an active case of the disease, which most commonly infects the lungs. She is being treated and will be allowed to return to the school when she is cleared to do so by medical professionals, the health department said.
The latest positive results were from a final round of screening clinics held last week on people who tested negative in the original rounds of testing. There are an additional 30 students and adults who still must be tested.
Since more than eight weeks have passed since the last possible exposure to the person who had TB, there can’t be any new cases. No further follow-up is needed for the people who tested negative, Kelso said.
A positive test mean a person has been exposed to the TB bacteria. The disease can’t be transmitted unless an infected person gets sick, which can come years, sometimes decades, after initial exposure.
Though TB was long a deadly disease, it became controllable with antibiotics in the mid-20th century. There still are occasional flare ups across the country. Tuberculosis is transmitted through the air but is not as infectious as many other common diseases.
Vermont usually deals with a handful of TB cases a year.
“This was a big deal, this took a lot of resources … to pull together statewide. It was not the type of thing we do all the time,” Kelso said.
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