Case of tuberculosis in student who attends Sheboygan South H.S.

SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- The Sheboygan County Division of Public Health has identified a case of tuberculosis in a student who attends South High School.

In a letter sent home to parents, officials say the student has been excluded from school and will remain in isolation until the student is no longer infectious.

Health officials are reaching out to anyone who may have been in close contact with this student.

The Sheboygan County Division of Public Health is working closely with the State Department of Health Services and with the Sheboygan Area School District.

Students who have been in close contact with the ill person will be offered free testing and treatment. The health department sent letters home today to students who have been identified as close contacts.

TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is spread by inhaling or breathing in infected air. TB can be transmitted when a person with TB disease coughs, sneezes, sings or talks. Catching TB from an infected person is not easy. Most often, transmission of TB is limited to family members. In order to be infected with TB, close (within six feet) and repeated or continuous contact (more than eight hours) with the person who has TB is usually needed.

In Wisconsin, approximately 70 new cases of tuberculosis disease are diagnosed each year.

TB can cause both infection and active disease. When infected, a person will have a positive TB skin or blood test, but will not be ill and cannot infect anyone else. If the infection becomes active disease, the person may have symptoms such as cough, fever, night sweats, unintended weight loss and may cough up blood.

TB disease is preventable – persons with TB infection can take medication that will prevent the infection from moving into active disease.

TB disease is curable – if a person has active disease, a combination of medications given by directly-observed therapy can cure the disease.