Thompson high school student diagnosed with active tuberculosis
Northern Health Authority to do contact investigation to check for further cases
A student at R.D. Parker Collegiate in Thompson, Man., has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB) infection, according to the Northern Health Region.
A spokeswoman for the health authority said in an emailed statement the student is currently the only confirmed diagnosis at the school.
As per procedure, the health authority will conduct a contact investigation to assess any further cases of TB in the school. That means compiling a complete list of people exposed to the infection, followed up by evaluations and interviews.
"The Northern Health Region public health staff has been working closely with school administration," she wrote. "A letter has been sent to school staff and families giving TB education and explaining the contact investigation that the public health staff will be conducting in the school."
TB 'uncommon' in Thompson
Manitoba's north has a high rate of tuberculosis, the spokeswoman said. Last year, out of the approximately 205 cases in the province, 91 involved residents in the North.
But "very few" of them were residents of Thompson, she said.
"It is uncommon for us to have Thompson residents diagnosed with TB, especially in the school," she wrote.
Symptoms of active, untreated tuberculosis infection include a bad cough lasting longer than two weeks, chest pain, weakness or tiredness, weight loss, a lack of appetite, fever, chills and night sweats.
Around 90 per cent of people who become infected with TB don't develop active disease, she said, instead carrying latent or "sleeping" tuberculosis infection. A healthy person can ward off active symptoms and they won't feel sick at all, the spokeswoman said.
Both forms of infection are very treatable with six to nine months of treatment, she added.
Northern Health Region public health staff will host an education session at the school on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.