Students And Parents Share Concerns After Active Tuberculosis Case Was Confirmed At Joppatowne High School

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HARFORD COUNTY - According to the Harford County Health Department, an active tuberculosis case has been confirmed at Joppatowne High School.

Parents, guardians, and staff received a letter and fact sheet on Monday alerting them to the situation. The Harford County Health Department is currently working with the Maryland Department of Health on contact tracing.

"TB is spread through the air from person to person after prolonged exposure in an enclosed space. Our investigation is an important step to help prevent the spread of TB," Harford County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jamie Sibel said in a news release.

According to the CDC website, "The general symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and coughing up blood. Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected."

In an interview with WJZ, Sibel said that active tuberculosis disease cases are rare in the United States, so the vaccine for tuberculosis is not required for students to go to school. She also clarified that community members shouldn't be alarmed by this case.

"One is only at risk if they've had prolonged exposure to the person who has been affected," Sibel said. "So, therefore, this is not a community-wide problem at this time."

Nevertheless, some students feel uneasy about the news. Elsie Harmon, who currently attends school online, told WJZ that her friends at the school texted her about the news.

"They don't want to go to school," Harmon said.

Parents have also shared their concerns about the case and wonder if a vaccine should be required to attend public school.

"I think tuberculosis is a very serious disease, and it can spread most, especially, so I think they should vaccinate the kids," Minister Harmon, parent of a student attending Joppatowne, told WJZ.

For more information about contact tracing, testing, or treatment, call 410-612-1779 or visit the Harford County Health Department's website

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