A person at Mesa Ridge High School recently tested positive for tuberculosis, but there's little risk of anyone else catching the disease, public health officials say.
The person, who is "associated" with the school, was sent home and given medication after testing positive for the respiratory disease Sept. 19, said Eric Gordon, lead disease prevention nurse for El Paso County Public Health. The disease is relatively rare in the United States and can cause intense coughing that produces blood, unexplained weight loss, fever and night sweats.
About 50 staff and students at Mesa Ridge were tested for the disease Wednesday, and results are expected Friday. Another round of tests is planned in eight to 10 weeks — the amount of time it takes for symptoms to appear.
About five or six cases of active tuberculosis are diagnosed in the county every year.
Gordon said the infected person appeared minimally contagious, if at all. He did not say whether that person was a student or staff member.
The patient likely has had a latent form of tuberculosis that became active, which can happen in about 5% of patients, Gordon said.
That person has not shown any symptoms. A test of phlegm also did not come back positive for the disease, Gordon said. But a test of a nodule in the person's lung was positive for TB.
"That suggests that this individual is not infectious at all, or minimally infectious," Gordon said.