The Prince George’s County Health Department has confirmed two cases of tuberculosis at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School. Tuberculosis (TB), an infectious bacteria infection that typically attacks the lungs, can be fatal if not treated properly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The TB bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, spreads from person to person through the air. When the infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks, the bacteria will go airborne and those nearby will inhale the bacteria. Once the bacterium enters the lungs it can grow and travel through the bloodstream to the spine, kidneys, brain and other parts of the body.
Authorities say those tested positive for TB are currently being treated. Drugs approved for treating TB disease must be taken consecutively for six to nine months. There are several approved drugs, including rifampin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol and isoniazid.
Health and school officials are expected to meet with staff and parents to answer any questions and provide them with additional information.