CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Officials with Alberta Health Services say there is no cause for concern after a confirmed case of tuberculosis was found inside a Calgary-area high school.
Letters are now being delivered to 53 individuals who were potentially exposed in the Calgary zone. They include information on arrangements for testing, treatment and symptoms.
“We know the specifics around the case but we don’t want to talk about it due to privacy concerns,” said Dr. Jia Hu, medical officer of health. Hu wouldn’t confirm whether the high school involved was within the city limits.
According to medical experts, the risk of transmission of tuberculosis is quite rare. Calgary had only six cases of TB throughout 2017. You have to spend an extended amount of time with a person to be at risk. It’s typically transmitted through talking, or if someone coughs or sneezes.
It’s now predominantly found in “foreign-born populations” and usually only found in developing countries or where sanitation is poor.TB AHS FAQ
“Tuberculosis is a very slow sort of moving disease but pulmonary tuberculosis is the type tuberculosis you’re most worried about: a productive cough, a bit of blood in your sputum, sometimes you’ll have fevers, weight loss — but that often comes many years after you’re infected with tuberculosis,” he said.
“We were notified or made aware of this case a couple of months ago, generally speaking, the way tuberculosis testing works is that you can only test about 8 to 12 weeks after exposure, the bacteria grows so slowly,” Hu explained.
He’s encouraging anyone with questions to engage with their family doctor or to give Health Link a call. The people who will be impacted the most are those who are immune-compromised, for example, those who might have had cancer treatment.
It can be easily treated with antibiotics and people should have their testing results within a matter of days.