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Active Tuberculosis Case At Maryland High School

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By Rebecca Sheir

A student at Maryland's Kennedy High School has been diagnosed with an active case of tuberculosis. The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services is offering TB tests to individuals who had close contact with the infected student.

Skin tests will be offered at Kennedy High School on June 2nd.

"What a positive skin test shows is just that someone has had exposure to the TB bacteria," says Mary Anderson, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, "not that they have active tuberculosis."

Anderson says contrary to popular belief, tuberculosis is relatively hard to catch.

"TB is a slow-growing bacteria," she says. "One needs to have sustained, close contact with an infected person for at least eight hours to transmit the infection."

Anderson says the health department will offer follow-up tests later this summer, since people might not test positive for exposure right away.

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