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Durham County Department of Public Health Working in Coordination with Durham Public Schools to Investigate Tuberculosis Case at Northern High School

Post Date:02/18/2020 1:16 PM

Durham, NC - The Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH) is conducting a contact investigation and screening for tuberculosis (TB) cases at Northern High School, following a positive TB diagnosis in an individual at the school. DCoDPH is working in coordination with Durham Public Schools (DPS) to complete the investigation. In order to protect patient privacy and confidentiality, no specific information about the individual will be released by DCoDPH or DPS.

“Tuberculosis is fully curable with medications,” said Hattie Wood, DCoDPH Director of Nursing and Division Director of Medical Services. “The purpose of this investigation is to identify individuals whose exposure to a known case of TB puts them at risk, and to provide the necessary screening and treatment.”

DCoDPH receives referrals from healthcare providers to evaluate suspected cases of tuberculosis in Durham County. Northern High School staff, parents, and students have been notified of the investigation. Those who may have been exposed to TB, as identified by the contact investigation, have been notified individually and will be screened by DCoDPH free of charge.

“DPS will continue to support parents and our school community by communicating in a timely manner. We have full confidence in DCoDPH as they have a strong response plan,” said Chief Communications Officer William “Chip” Sudderth. 

TB is caused by a bacterium that generally causes a lung infection. It can be cured by taking prescribed medications, often over the course of six to nine months. More information about TB can be found on the Durham County Department of Public Health website.

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