PORTLAND, Ore. – A person at Sunset High School has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, Washington County health officials said Monday.
It’s unclear if the person is a student or staff member. Washington County Public Health officials say they have no reason to believe the person contracted tuberculosis at the school.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that primarily affects the lungs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bacteria is spread through the air from person to person.
Washington County sent a letter to Sunset parents and staff to notify them of the diagnosis. Deputy Health Officer Jennifer Vines said the county is contacting people who may have been exposed to arrange for TB testing.
So far, the county has contacted about 30 people. Some are from the school and Vines said those people might be at risk as they came into close contact with the infected person.
Vines said it's not common to hear about tuberculosis in this area.
"We have approximately 50 cases per year in the tri-county Portland metro area," Vines said. "When you think about how many people live here, that's really not very many. But it can be a serious disease. And again, our role as public health is to make sure people get diagnosed, that they get treatment, and anyone close to that person has the chance for prevention.
“This situation is not a medical emergency. There is not an outbreak of TB in the school community,” Vines said in the letter.
Many students were talking about the case Tuesday.
"It's kind of scary that someone has it," said one junior. "I wouldn't want to catch it myself. As long as the school caught it early on, and the person isn't going to school now, I should be all right."