Local News

Public Meeting to Inform Public on Santa Maria High School Tuberculosis Infection

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - We reported Wednesday on the Santa Maria High School student who was infected with tuberculosis. Today, parents and members of the community are being asked to attend a meeting at the high school to address safety measures being put into place.

"I'm glad to see that they're on top and hear that they're doing everything that they can for the students," said parent Sheba Morris. "It's a very good thing."

Morris says she isn't concerned one bit with the news of a tuberculosis infection at her daughter's school.

"I get her checked out every year with her yearly physical, so she's alright," said Morris.

Tuberculosis is spread through the air and can remain dormant in a person's system for years. The lifetime risk of it turning into an active infection is about 10 percent.

The infected student is still quarantined and receiving treatment. About 120 - 160 people have been identified as being in close contact with that student. Those people will be tested next week for tuberculosis and if they have an active infection.

"We look at the family, the close contacts in the home, in the community," said Charity Thoman, Health Officer with Santa Barbara County Public Health. "In public health, we're often times like investigators. We go out and try and make sure we are identifying anyone who may have possibly been exposed."

10 cases of active tuberculosis have been reported in Santa Barbara County this year so far. There were 26 active cases in 2013. The Public Health Department says treatment for active TB can involve taking antibiotics from 6 to 18 months, but reducing the infection so that it is no longer contagious takes much less time.

"In general, when someone has tuberculosis in their lungs, it generally takes anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks of being on medication before their sputum is clear of bacteria," said Thoman. "Every case is different, but in general, a typical case would take about 4 - 8 weeks of treatment before they're no longer considered infectious."

The public meeting is being held at the Santa Maria High School gym. All are encouraged to attend.

comments powered by Disqus

Top Local Stories