Students Will be Tested After Teacher Contracts Tuberculosis

KAHUKU (KHNL) -- The State Department of Health (DOH) plans to test 100 students on Oahu for tuberculosis. This, after learning a teacher at Kahuku High and Intermediate School has contracted TB.

A spokesperson for DOH says at this time, the entire school does not need to be tested. According to a letter sent to parents and faculty, which is also posted on Kahuku High's website, an assessment shows only those who have had contact in the same classroom as the teacher are at risk.

Health officials have identified those students, and have offered to test them for the disease.

One parent who is also a physician assistant said while this is of concern, tuberculosis is not as easy to spread as people may think.

"The misconception about TB is that people think that if someone else has TB that just meeting a person, that you'll just all of a sudden get exposed to TB. It's not as easily contagious as people think it is," said Alan Frampton, a physician assistant for Brigham Young University Hawaii Health Center.

TB is spread by air through coughing, or sneezing. There are two types of TB infections - latent and active.

Latent TB is when a person is infected, but can't spread the disease to others because the bacteria is dormant in the body.

A person with active TB has symptoms and is contagious.

State health officials have not said if the teacher has active or latent TB.

Kahuku High will hold a meeting Thursday night in the band room to answer any questions or concerns from parents, faculty or the community.