We have been alerted that some members of the student body at Andover High School had exposure to someone with a case of active Tuberculosis (TB).
TB is a very slow growing bacteria. If exposed, people tend not to even test positive for weeks to months later. Without testing, the illness is often not detected for years and by that time can be quite advanced and difficult to treat. The recommendations for testing after a known exposure to active TB include initial (baseline) testing with either a skin test or a blood test with follow-up testing 10 weeks later. If either of these tests is positive, a chest x-ray is done, and then medication is started. Immediate or rapid initial testing is not necessary as exposed individuals are not at risk of transmitting disease.
We at CMO have been in touch with the Department of Public Health and have discussed their protocol, plan for testing, and our response.
The DPH will be hosting informational visits this week. We strongly suggest that you attend these visits to answer most questions you could ask. They are more likely to have the information you need about this specific case and will be more adept at answering questions related to your child’s individual risk.
At this time, we recommend that all AHS students who have had a close exposure be tested next week.
- Attend the FREE testing scheduled at AHS on Thursday, 3/9 at 10am. They will be doing the blood test called Quantiferon Gold. This is a highly sensitive and specific test and the one most likely to detect early exposure and disease.
- If going to the free clinic at AHS is not possible, we will be offering visits for blood work (only) on Friday, 3/10 at 3pm. These are lab only visits and will not provide time for significant questions. This will be billed to your insurance. If you know you will not be able to make it to the AHS clinic, you can call now to schedule an appointment.
The DPH will be sending us any positive testing results and we will be involved in treatment and management as needed. .
Thank you for working with us and the DPH to quickly test several hundred students and then treat cases as they become apparent.