By Alex Robinson
The city Health Department is currently investigating a case of tuberculosis at Hillcrest High School after one of the school’s students contracted the disease, a DOH spokeswoman said.
The infected student is being treated and is doing fine, the spokeswoman said. Free testing is being conducted for 170 students and six staffers at the school.
“Given that the person with TB is receiving treatment, there is no health risk to students or staff currently at the school,” the spokeswoman said.
TB is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which attacks the lungs and can be spread through the air. Most people do not know they have the disease until they become sick, DOH officials said.
DOH has found TB is more common in individuals born in countries with high incidences of the disease. In 2013, 84 percent of cases in New York City were among individuals born outside the United States, according to DOH. People with other conditions that weaken the immune system are also at heightened risk.
DOH released data last week showing an increase in TB cases in the city for the first time in a decade.
The department is encouraging people at high risk for TB to get tested as most of the infected do not know they have contracted the disease until they show symptoms. With proper care and treatment, TB can be prevented and cured, DOH officials said.
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.