Vancouver, Wash. — Clark County Public Health has confirmed the diagnosis of infectious tuberculosis (TB) in an individual associated with Minnehaha Elementary School. The affected individual had been present at the school before the commencement of the summer break. In order to respect the person’s privacy, no further details regarding the connection to the school or specifics about the case have been disclosed by Public Health.
Collaborating closely with Vancouver Public Schools and Minnehaha Elementary School, Public Health has initiated an ongoing investigation. Notification of the TB case was communicated to parents and staff via email on Friday, August 18th. Public Health is actively identifying students and staff who may have had close contact with the individual bearing TB and will directly inform those individuals within the coming week.
Recommendations from Public Health stipulate that testing is to be conducted solely for those identified as potential close contacts. The broader testing of all students and staff is not advised.
While the transmission of TB within a school environment is plausible, it is considered uncommon. Presently, Public Health has not encountered any additional instances of TB at the school.
It is important to note that an individual with infectious TB can transmit the TB-causing bacteria to others who share the same air for extended periods. In cases where the infected person lacks symptoms or signs of TB disease, this is classified as latent TB infection. It is estimated that approximately 10% of individuals with latent TB infection will eventually develop TB disease.
Testing is imperative to ascertain the presence of TB-causing bacteria within an individual. Early detection and treatment of latent TB infection can serve as a preventive measure against the future development of TB disease.