Palm Beach County Student Tests Positive for Tuberculosis

A student at Glades Central High School has tested positive for tuberculosis, reports the Palm Beach County Health Department. As a precaution, the department is now extending its investigation to other students and staff at the school.

Tuberculosis, commonly referred to as TB, is a disease that typically affects the lungs, although it can spread to the kidneys, spine, brain, or other parts of the body. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal. Symptoms include fever, night sweats, weakness and fatigue, chest pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, a chronic cough, and coughing up blood.

“TB is spread though the air after someone infected with the disease coughs, sneezes, or speaks,” explains Peter Lamelas, M.D., CEO of MD Now Urgent Care. “Germs can remain airborne for several hours, leaving those exposed susceptible to infection.”

Dr. Lamelas recommends an immediate and repeat TB testing for anyone who has had close or prolonged contact with the infected student and for those at higher risk of ongoing exposure to the disease. Letters from the health department are being sent to students, teachers and other staff at the school identified as close contacts.

Others at high risk for TB include:

  • Low-income groups and the homeless (with poor hygiene and little healthcare)
  • Those who live in nursing homes, shelters, or correctional facilities
  • Those who care for patients at high-risk of TB (healthcare workers, etc.)
  • Users of injected, illegal drugs
  • People with compromised immune systems due to Diabetes, certain Cancers, or HIV.

“To prevent the spread of the disease, we’re acting swiftly to ensure that the people of South Florida are aware and protected,” assures Dr. Lamelas. “Hospital ER’s do not typically offer TB testing, however MD Now provides blood and skin TB testing at all 22 MD Now Urgent Care centers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.”

For the convenience of its patients, MD Now centers are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the year, including holidays. No appointments are necessary and the services are fast and affordable with most major insurance accepted, but not required.

“At the very least,” stresses Dr. Lamelas, “practice good hygiene and use precaution around anyone exhibiting symptoms such as fever, coughing and sneezing, also if you are concerned or develop these symptoms seek medical attention.”

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