PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Health Department has identified tuberculosis (TB) in a student at Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8, a Pittsburgh Public School, in Lawrenceville.
The student is not currently in school and is receiving treatment for the illness. The student is expected to “return to normal activities in the near future,” according to a press release.
The health department is trying to figure out which individuals came into the contact with the student to assure that they are also tested and treated if need be. Tuberculosis is an airborne, highly infectious bacterial disease. It cannot be spread through any other kind of contact including sharing food, drink or clothing.
The health department said the only way to contract the disease is to be extremely close to an infected person and to breathe in the bacteria. Symptoms include coughs lasting longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, chills, fever and coughing up blood.
Tuberculosis is preventable and curable, although it takes a considerable amount of time to cure. Patients with TB are treated six to nine months with antibiotics. They will become non-infectious within a few days to weeks after treatment and be able to not pose a risk to others in time.
Pittsburgh Public Schools will be working with the health department and the TB Division of the Pennsylvania Department of Health to ensure that students’ safety and health come first at Arsenal 6-8.
Anyone with questions or concerns can contact the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243).