Epidemic Hazard – North-America – USA

EDIS Number: EH-20120417-34918-USA
Date / time: 17/04/2012 08:05:57 [UTC]
Event: Epidemic Hazard
Area: North-America
Country: USA
State/County: State of Michigan
Location: Northville
Number of Deads: N/A
Number of Injured: N/A
Number of Infected: N/A
Number of Missing: N/A
Number of Affected: N/A
Number of Evacuated: N/A
Damage level: N/A


As many as 400 students and staff at Northville High School may have come in close contact with a student who has an active case of tuberculosis. A female student at the school was diagnosed with the contagious disease two weeks ago, and the school has alerted families about the possibility of the bacteria spreading. The infected student is expected to recover, said Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, chief of health operations for Wayne County. "We contacted the school administration and the school superintendent and informed them that we would like to contact the parents of these students to ask for their consent to test them," Hammami said. "We just want to make sure that due diligence is done." The school sent an email to all parents alerting them of the case, Northville Public School Superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher said. Some parents also received a letter in the mail warning that their children may have a higher risk of exposure. Wayne County health department staff members will go to the high school to perform free skin tests next Monday and Tuesday for those with a higher chance of exposure.

Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis and can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease usually affects the lungs, but can attack kidneys, the spine or the brain. People can be infected with the bacteria without developing the disease. Hammami said he hadn't discovered how the girl contracted the disease. Her family was also tested, and two of her three siblings also have the bacteria, but all those infected are now on treatment. Gallagher estimated about 400 students and staff had a higher chance of exposure, but said families have been for the most part appreciative of the guidance. "Folks obviously are concerned but have some good information and can certainly take comfort in that piece," Gallagher said. The email to parents also suggested some students could have a skin test at the Wayne County TB clinic in Westland for $10.

Syndicated from RSOE EDIS - Emergency and Disaster Information