Health officials offer screenings in response to Ennis School tuberculosis scare

The Delaware Division of Public Health and the Indian River School District say a small number of people may have been exposed to someone with active tuberculosis while being transported to and from the Howard T. Ennis School.

Health officials say they are contacting individuals who may have been exposed and are offering free screenings to test for TB. Treatment will be provided as necessary, officials said.

The DPH says the transmission risk for TB is low, but that treatment should be provided to anyone who has been infected with TB bacteria to prevent development into TB disease.

"We have reached out to the small number of individuals who need testing," DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. "If someone does not hear from us by letter or phone, they have no reason to get tested."

"The Indian River School District is committed to taking every possible precaution to assure the health and safety of students, staff and parents," Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele said.

Health officials say Delaware has had 10 cases of active TB so far this year, with 16 cases total in 2016 and 22 cases total in 2015. They say TB is a bacteria that can be inhaled into the lungs when around people with active TB who cough, sneeze, sing or laugh.

TB symptoms include coughing, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills and chest pain, officials said. Only about 5 to 10 percent of people infected with TB bacteria ever develop TB disease, health officials said.

For more information on the bacteria and disease, visit the CDC webpage on TB.

Categories: Delaware, Local News