A diagnosed case of of Tuberculosis (TB) has been found at Belvidere North High School.
The school and the Boone County Health Department sent a letter to parents on Tuesday to alert them to the presence of the disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, TB is a potentially serious disease caused by a bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis which generally affects the lungs, but can also infect other parts of the body, and is spread from one person to another via coughs and sneezes.
Symptoms of TB include coughing that lasts three or more weeks, coughing up blood, chest pain, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever, night sweats, chills and/or loss of appetite. The historical term “consumption” came about due to the weight loss.
The World Health Organization declared TB a “global health emergency” in 1993.
The only available vaccine as of 2011 decreases the risk in children getting the infection by 20% and the risk of infection turning into active disease by nearly 60%.
Belvidere North officials notified parents that students who have come in direct and prolonged contact with the affected student will need to have a TB skin test. Those parents were notified by an additional letter.
TB skin testing is available at the Boone County Health Department at 1204 Logan Avenue on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.