Scottsdale high school student diagnosed with tuberculosis

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A Desert Mountain High School student was diagnosed with active tuberculosis last month, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Public Health has identified a group of students who were exposed to the individual and a letter was sent to their parents. Health officials recommend that those students be given a TB skin test.

Public Health staff will test the exposed students next Monday and the results will be known May 15.

"This is not an uncommon situation," said Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. "We have 150 to 200 or so cases of active TB every year. This is, in fact, the third time this year we've had one in a high school."

TB is caused by bacteria and spreads through the air. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, however, TB is not highly contagious.

"The folks who are most exposed to that person are the people who live with them, breathing the same air that that person has been coughing into for months and most of the time not even everybody in the same household has been infected during that time," England said.

Health officials are testing those individuals who were most exposed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Desert Mountain High School is part of the Scottsdale Unified School District and is located near Via Linda and 124th Street.