Last Updated: Feb 02, 2023

Health officials from Delaware County declared that health authorities have found a person diagnosed with tuberculosis who attends Penn Wood Middle School in Darby. Health officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that tuberculosis bacteria transmit through the air when a person diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) coughs, speaks, or comes in close contact with other people. However, health authorities from Delaware county have said that tuberculosis is widely Known as TB, and the disease is not as infectious as a cold or the flu.  They have said that people would have to be in close contact with the infected individual for at least 15 hours to catch the disease. Delaware county’s public health director, Dr. Melissa Lyon has claimed that at this time, there is no risk involved to the general people. She has stated that the county health department is working round the clock to trace close contacts of the infected patient. As per the report, close contacts of the person infected with tuberculosis (TB) as well will be tested for the disease. The CDC health officials have made it clear that tuberculosis does not transmit by shaking hands, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing food or drinks, sharing toothbrushes, and kissing. Health officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that people diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) disease are more likely to transmit the disease to other people whom they spend time with on a regular basis.

Health officials have said that family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates of the infected individual are at a higher risk of catching the disease. They have said that when people breathe in tuberculosis bacteria, it can sit in the lungs and possibly can transmit to other parts of the body, such as the kidneys and spine. Health experts have said that tuberculosis bacteria are generally not contagious outside of the lung.  While people’s risk for catching tuberculosis is based on the level of close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with the disease. The health director for infection prevention and control at Einstein Healthcare Network, which is a division of Jefferson Health, Eric Sachinwalla has said that there is a greater risk of tuberculosis, which is based on time and what patients are ejecting into the air. He has said that if people are standing right next to a person who is constantly coughing, there might be a higher risk of tuberculosis.  Being in a room where a person is vigorously coughing, there might be less risk of tuberculosis, and there might be an even lower risk of the disease if the person is not coughing vigorously. Only a few details about the tuberculosis incident in Delaware County have been made public by the county health officials. Dr. Melissa Lyon is not going to disclose specific details about the newly discovered infected individual. Health authorities from Delaware County have identified a new case of tuberculosis via regular reporting from a healthcare facility. Tuberculosis is one of around 75 ailments that need to be informed to public health officials when diagnosed.

Dr. Melissa Lyon has said that the health department is trying every means to identify potential exposures by examining classrooms, seating charts in school buses, and extramural activities in the school. The county health department is also conducting testing for people who have been in close contact with the individual who has been found to be infected with tuberculosis. Health officials hope that the count of close connections of the infected individual might be fewer than anticipated. As per the report, classes at Penn Wood Middle School usually last for around 80 minutes and students spend around six hours per week in a given classroom. Health officials have claimed that everyone who is exposed to TB bacteria does not fall sick and students and staff still can safely attend school. The officials from the CDC have stated that TB can stay in the body without symptoms. It is a condition known as latent TB infection. People who are diagnosed with latent tuberculosis infection are not able to spread the bacteria to others. However, such people generally will test positive for tuberculosis and might be fully infected with the disease later if they are not treated on time. The CDC officials have said that the tuberculosis incident recently found in Delaware County is a case of latent TB infection. As per Dr. Eric Sachinwalla, people who are exposed to tuberculosis bacteria more often do not show any symptoms, but there is a possibility some people who are exposed to TB bacteria might show some symptoms. Some symptoms of tuberculosis are chills and sweats at night, fever, and worsening cough. People infected with active tuberculosis are given antibiotics for six months and these TB patients usually live in isolation during the treatment until they can no longer spread the disease to other people. Eric Sachinwalla has said that the duration of tuberculosis treatment can take weeks and at times it can wind up much faster, however, it depends on the severity of the initial TB infection.