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Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Las Vegas Area: Tuberculosis Exposure Poses Potential Risk for Over 600 Individuals in 26 Schools

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Las Vegas Area In a significant public health concern, a person diagnosed with active tuberculosis visited 26 schools in the Las Vegas area over a period exceeding a year, putting more than 600 individuals at risk of exposure to the contagious respiratory disease.

Investigation Initiated: Unraveling the Spread

This month, public health officials launched an investigation into the potential spread of tuberculosis within the desert community during the mentioned timeframe. The infected individual, whose identity remains undisclosed, is presently in isolation and undergoing treatment, as confirmed by Jennifer Sizemore, a spokesperson for the Southern Nevada Health District.

Identity and Connection Remain Confidential: Ongoing Investigation: Las Vegas Area

The nature of the person’s connection to the schools—whether a student, parent, or employee—remains undisclosed, and officials have not provided details about the individual’s diagnosis date. The infected person exhibited symptoms for over a year before receiving a tuberculosis diagnosis, according to Sizemore.

Exposure Assessment: Determining Contact Levels

Health authorities began investigating the exposures on December 4, and notifications to individuals who may have been exposed are underway. The focus is on determining the level of contact the infected person had with others at each school.

Schools on High Alert: Coordinated Testing Efforts: Las Vegas Area

Schools are coordinating with health officials to test students and staff who are believed to have had close contact. Notably, eight elementary school campuses reported no known exposures, while varying numbers of potential exposures were identified at 17 local elementary, middle, and high schools, along with a Clark County School District training site.

Specific Campus Response: Ruthe Deskin Elementary School

Ruthe Deskin Elementary School issued a broad notification about possible exposures, and testing for all students is expected to commence in January. Deskin had 475 students in the 2022-2023 school year.

Testing Underway: Identifying Latent Infections

Testing for individuals at other campuses started this week, with the health district using a blood test to detect TB. Officials emphasize that not everyone exposed will be infected, and not everyone infected will develop active disease. Screening and testing aim to identify cases of latent TB infection.

Collaborative Efforts: Clark County School District’s Role

The Clark County School District is collaborating with the health district in its investigation. While mass exposures of this nature are rare, recent incidents in states like Kansas, North Carolina, and Washington highlight the potential risks associated with tuberculosis in educational settings.

Tuberculosis Overview: Symptoms and National Statistics: Las Vegas Area

Tuberculosis’s incubation period ranges from two to 10 weeks, and individuals with latent infections do not exhibit symptoms or spread the disease. Symptoms of active tuberculosis include a persistent cough, coughing up blood or sputum, chest pain, fatigue, weakness, chills, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 8,300 tuberculosis cases across the U.S. in 2022.

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