What to Know
- A student at Columbus Elementary School in New Rochelle has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, school officials say
- 20 classmates may have been exposed but the district doctor assures that exposure does not mean high risk
- Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease affecting the lungs and can be deadly
A New Rochelle school is holding an emergency meeting for concerned parents Friday evening after a student was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Some 20 classmates of the sick student at Columbus Elementary School may have been exposed, parents learned in notifications over the phone. The student was last in school on Sept. 12 but the school was only informed of the diagnosis on Tuesday.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease affecting the lungs and can be deadly. The most obvious signs are a bad cough lasting three weeks or longer; chest pain; coughing up blood or phlegm; and possible weakness and weight loss.
TB is transmitted through the air by speaking, coughing and singing.
The school district physician says parents should be reassured that exposure does not mean high risk.
"The risk is actually very low," said Dr. Brooke Balchan, D.O. "The amount and time needed to contract it is over a great amount of time, more than eight hours in a very close setting without any flow of air."
The 20 students will have baseline testing within the next week, and then be tested in a follow-up eight weeks later to see if anything shows up. Anyone identified as positive will be treated with antibiotics.