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Single case of infectious tuberculosis confirmed at Vancouver high school: health authority

Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver, where a single case of tuberculosis has been confirmed. Google Street View

A single case of infectious tuberculosis has been confirmed at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver, the region’s health authority said Friday.

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Vancouver Coastal Health said staff and students were notified about the case on Thursday, and is working with the Vancouver School Board to identify anyone who may have been exposed.

“Most students and staff at Templeton Secondary have not been exposed and will not require screening,” spokesperson Carrie Stefanson said in an email.

The health authority said details about the case will not be released due to privacy reasons, but added there is no ongoing risk to anyone attending or visiting the school.

READ MORE: Island Health confirms case of tuberculosis in Victoria

The Vancouver School Board said it is aware of the situation and is following the health authority’s guidance.

“[Vancouver Coastal Health] has provided information to families of students and has been in contact with those (very small number individuals) who may be at risk for exposure,” a spokesperson said in an email.
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Those who have been exposed will be treated with medication, but Vancouver Coastal Health says the “vast majority” of people who are exposed do not become infected.

Screening will take place among all exposed staff and students at Templeton to identify who needs medication.

READ MORE: Meat-processing plant in B.C.’s Interior accused of improper offal disposal

The infectious disease is caused by bacteria — Mycobacterium tuberculosis — and affects the lungs. It is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, expelling the bacteria into the air.

Anyone can become infected if they have close or prolonged contact with another infected person.

Canada has among the lowest rates of tuberculosis in the world, with 1,796 reported cases in 2017 — accounting for 4.9 people per 100,000 population.

This isn’t the first time this year B.C. has seen a case of tuberculosis. In March, a person with the disease stayed at two Victoria-area hostels, prompting a warning from Island Health.

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