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Dozens at Sussex County school may have been exposed to tuberculosis

Indian River School District

The state Division of Public Health and Indian River School District report about 50 individuals may have been exposed to someone with active tuberculosis at Georgetown Elementary School.

The Division is offering free screening to those who may have been exposed— and treatment if needed.

Letters with a fact sheet and information about testing were sent home Tuesday with students identified for testing.

Public Health officials say the risk of transmission in this case is low.

Five to ten percent of people who are infected with tuberculosis will develop the disease at some point in their lives. Symptoms include a long-term, progressively worsening cough, weakness, weight loss, fever, and chest pain. But both latent and active tuberculosis can be cured by medication.

Division of Public Health director Dr. Karyl Rattay said in a statement situations like this are a “reminder that TB is still active in our state and it’s important to test those who may be at risk for the disease.”

According to the Division of Public Health, Delaware had 16 cases of active TB in 2016 and 15 in 2017.  

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.