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Official: Suspected TB case in Lafayette no threat to Lake Area

Last Modified: Friday, December 14, 2012 1:39 PM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

A recent reported case of suspected tuberculosis in Lafayette poses no threat to the Lake Area, according to the Lafayette regional public health director.

Tuberculosis is a lung disease that can be transmitted by sharing the same space with an infected person for an extended period of time.

Dr. Tina Stefanski told the American Press on Thursday that there is one possible case of tuberculosis that is being investigated at Lafayette High School.

“All the steps that we are taking are out of an abundance of caution where we conduct contact investigations to identify any potential exposure,” she said.

“As a result of our investigation we have identified approximately 200 individuals who need to be tested, but at this point none of it involves anyone in the Lake Charles area.”

She said that as the investigation continues “things may change.”

Stefanski said the exposure testing is a precaution and that tuberculosis has not been confirmed at this time.

“It could be months or years before someone exposed actually develops active tuberculosis,” she said.

“The exposure test will identify whether someone was exposed to TB, so we can give medication and prevent them from developing active disease.”

The Advocate reported the school system notified Lafayette High parents Tuesday of the suspected tuberculosis case and that those students identified as being at risk of exposure would be sent home with a letter Wednesday about testing to be conducted by the Office of Public Health on Monday and Tuesday.

Stefanski said the 200 people identified for testing include faculty, students and staff at the school.

She said TB is something that the Office of Public Health continues to see in communities and that contact investigations are done routinely.

Stefanski said there were nine cases of TB in the Lake Charles region in 2011.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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