UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - Two people at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro have been diagnosed with tuberculosis, according to school officials.
Prince George’s County Public Schools say the two confirmed cases of the bacterial infection are being treated, and other students and staff are not at risk of additional exposure.
The school system did not say if the affected individuals were students or staff members.
“Although the risk of exposure is small, we are working with our health professionals to offer TB screening out of an abundance of caution,” said Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium that usually attacks the lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the disease include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or phlegm, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.
Prince George’s County health officials say it normally takes at least eight hours of close contact in a small room for tuberculosis to be passed on to others, and it cannot be contracted from shorter exposure periods such as passing a person in a hallway or sitting in a cafeteria for an hour.
“The Health Department and PGCPS prioritize the health and safety of all students, staff, and parents,” said Prince George’s County health officer Pamela Creekmur. “We are working expeditiously to provide information, screening, and any additional follow up to maintain the health and wellness of the Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School community.”