AKRON - An active case of tuberculosis has been identified at Jennings Community Learning Center in Akron. It has not been disclosed if the person infected is a child or an adult.
Dr. Margo Erme, Medical Director with the Summit County Public Health described tuberculosis as a pulmonary infection. “It is uncommon, but it is not rare. It will affect mainly the lungs, but it can affect other parts of the body,” she said.
Tuberculosis is contagious and can spread through the air. Thanh Ngo, a seventh grader at Jennings Community Learning Center is concerned. "Like on a scale of one to 10, I'd say seven," he said.
Symptoms of tuberculosis can take weeks to appear. That is why the students and staff at the school are urged to be tested to see if they have been exposed. Dr. Erme said that is done with a simple skin test. “Take a little needle, you put a little substance underneath the skin, forming a little bubble.
Even though it is spring break, the testing will be done at Jennings Community Learning Center. The testing times are 10 a.m to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8. Those who are tested are to return with 48 hours to have the test read. Those screening times are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 10.
Dr. Erme said the person must do a second, follow up skin test before the end of the school year to be sure the disease has not developed. “Tuberculosis is a very slow disease. There are very, very few number of people who actually develop the disease where they may need to have treatment,” Dr. Erme said.
Health officials say the TB testing is not mandatory, but is highly recommended. "I am going to test, to see if I have it,” Thanh said.
Because of the large non-English speaking population at Jennings Community Learning Center, school officials plan to have translators there during the testing and all written information regarding tuberculosis will be translated in to seven languages.