Hundreds of Oakland students posssibly exposed to tuberculosis

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Health officials say up to 300 students and staff at Skyline High School in Oakland may have been exposed to tuberculosis.

A person there was recently diagnosed with the airborne disease.

Those at risk are people who were in close contact with the patient, like sharing a classroom, or studying together.

"So when someone has tuberculosis disease, that's when they can have coughing and symptoms and night sweats and fever. That's what you typically think of when you think of tuberculosis. But it's actually fairly common to become infected and never have any symptoms," said Erica Pan, M.D., with the Alameda County Department of Public Health.

Doctors with the Alameda County Department of Public Health held a meeting for parents. Their message was that tuberculosis is treatable and they will offer free testing for those who were exposed.

"It is a treatable disease. It is a bacteria that can be treated by antibiotics," one man said.

They wouldn't reveal if it was a student or staff member who got sick, citing patient privacy laws. "Well I wanted to know if my son was exposed and to see what the ramifications were," parent Rachel Gonzales said.

"I would like to know when that person was here so I can know if my granddaughter was here at school," Grandmother Eva Steffani said.

The patient has been in isolation getting treatment and has not been on campus since September 6.

Health officials say out of the hundreds they're testing, they only expect a small number, if any at all, to test positive for infection.
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