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Confirmed case of tuberculosis at Moncton high school
MONCTON -- Each year in New Brunswick there are between three and 12 cases of tuberculosis.
On Wednesday, a sixth case was confirmed at Bernice MacNaughton High School in Moncton.
"That's terrifying, not only do we have our children that are in school, but we've got children that are at home," said parent Daniel Harris. "We've got a three-year-old at home. That's catastrophic if something ever happened."
Student Tabitha Azariah said some kids stayed home from school because they were so concerned.
Tuberculosis is an infection of the lungs similar to pneumonia, but if left untreated, it can affect other areas of the body and can even potentially be fatal.
"Most people are at very low risk of being exposed, and for those that are exposed, nine out of 10 will actually never even develop the disease," said Dr. Yves Leger, the regional medical officer of health for the Moncton area.
A letter to parents was sent home Wednesday informing them of the case.
"There's not a whole lot of talk amongst the kids, it's mostly the parents that are concerned," Harris said. "Young kids don't seem to notice the severity of things"
No information about whether the individual is a staff member or a student has been released.
"Once we have determined the period during which the patient may have been contagious to others, we will do an extensive interview with the case to identify all the settings and the persons that that individual may have come in contact with," Leger said.
Leger says patients must wait eight weeks from their last point of contact with the infected individual before skin testing can be deemed accurate.
"If you do it too early, you may get a negative result, but it could be what we call a false negative, because your immune system hasn't had the time yet to build up to be able to respond to that skin testing," Leger said.
The Department of Health says they will work with the school to set up testing clinics when the eight-week period is up, but for some, not knowing is a concern.
"Does it bother me?" Harris said. "Of course, I've only got one little girl."
Leger says pinpointing where exactly the case came from will be difficult. He will be holding an information session on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the school's auditorium to answer any questions parents and staff may have.