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Guam students to be tested for tuberculosis

December 30, 2014

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Students at five Guam schools who were exposed to a bus driver with tuberculosis will be tested for the disease.

The Department of Public Works driver died last week of unknown causes, said Alice Manalo, acting supervisor of Guam Public Health’s TB and Hansen’s disease program, but he had an had an active case of tuberculosis, Pacific Daily News (http://bit.ly/1D4lPRj) reported.

Students at D.L. Perez Elementary School, Machananao Elementary School, F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School and Simon Sanchez High School who rode Bus 72 will undergo skin tests.

The bacteria that cause TB are carried through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, speaks or sings. Tuberculosis bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can attack the kidney, spine and brain, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease control.

If not treated properly, TB can be fatal.

Public works employees who were exposed to the driver will also be tested.

TB can usually be detected two to 12 weeks after exposure, Manalo said. Children infected with TB can exhibit symptoms that include coughing, weakness, reduced playfulness, weight loss and fever or night sweats.

Exposure to TB bacteria does not result in an immediate case of the disease as can happen with measles and mumps, Public Health officials said in an announcement.

They are conducting an investigation to determine which students or public employees may have been exposed to TB.

Students and identified public works employees who do not complete the required TB skin test will be excluded from school or work, health officials said.

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Information from: Pacific Daily News: http://www.guampdn.com

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