Update: 1 Case of Tuberculosis at Kreps Middle School, 22 Need Testing
The school notified parents Thursday.
One person at Melvin H. Kreps Middle School is confirmed to have Tuberculosis and 22 others were identified as needing testing, according to school officials.
The health department notified the school on Wednesday and letters were sent home to parents Thursday, said Principal Lori Stein. She would not say if it was a student or faculty member, or what grade level, citing confidentiality.
“The health department is not concerned and neither are we,” Stein said. “We don’t believe anyone here is in danger, has ever been in danger.”
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services spokesman Daniel Emmer said it is a suspected case of Tuberculosis, while the school said it is confirmed.
The health department and the middle school identified anyone who may be at risk from having contact with the infected person, and all parents of students and staff members were notified if they needed to be tested, Stein said in an email Saturday.
Tests will be held April 30 during the school day, Stein said.
The bacteria is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, and someone nearby could breathe in the bacteria and become infected, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website said.
“Its not something where you need to sanitize the building because there is nothing to sanitize,” Stein said, explaining that the Tuberculosis bacteria is difficult to transmit, and its airborne so when it hits an inanimate object it dies.
“You need ongoing continuous contact with the [infected] person,” Stein said.
An information session for Kreps families will be held on April 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium, Stein said.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis listed on the Center for Disease Control's website include a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.
In 2011, there were 331 confirmed cases of Tuberculosis in New Jersey, according to New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
To see a copy of the letter, click on the PDF to the right of this article.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at 9:42 a.m. Friday, and updated at 2:25 p.m. Saturday.