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Testing clinic being placed at PSLA Fowler following discovery of tuberculosis case

County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said an effort is being made to retrace the person's steps to find out where the case may have originated from.{ }

Onondaga County Health Department officials say a testing clinic is being placed at PSLA Fowler High School, where a person discovered to have tuberculosis is believed to have been over the course of several weeks.

County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said an effort is being made to retrace the person's steps to find out where the case may have originated from.

Officials said the person, who is now recovering at an area hospital, was sick "on and off" for a few weeks before the tuberculosis diagnosis was made and is believed to have been in and out of the school during that time. Officials said only that the person is affiliated with the school; they declined to say whether it was a student, faculty or staff member.

Consent forms for testing of students are expected to be handed out Wednesday, Dr. Gupta said. Typically only 5 to 10 percent of people exposed get the disease, she said.

The health department's Medical Director Dr. Quoc Nguyen added the threat to the community at large is very small because typically people would need to be share the same confined airspace for "hours" to become exposed.

Dr. Gupta said this is the fourth case of tuberculosis in Onondaga County so far in 2017. The county sees an average of 10 cases per year, she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, TB is one of the world's deadliest diseases. One-third of the world's population is infected with it. In 2015, 10.4 million people around the world became sick with TB. And it is the leading killer of people who are HIV infected. A total of 9,557 TB cases were reported in the United States in 2015. From 2013 to 2014, TB cases and rates have been on the decline in New York state, according to the state Department of Health. In 2014, Onondaga County saw a total of 10 cases.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is an airborne bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs. It is spread when an infected person coughs, speaks, laughs, sings or sneezes into the air and the germs are inhaled by others. Symptoms include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Feelings of weakness or lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Low-grade fever
  • Night sweats.

Active TB can take several months after infection to develop.

The Syracuse City School District has put a page on its website with details on the tuberculosis case and resources for more information.

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