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Person at West Valley charter school tests positive for tuberculosis

(Facebook/Imagine Prep at Surprise)

PHOENIX — Someone at a West Valley charter school has tested positive for tuberculosis, officials said Thursday.

Rhonda Cagle with Imagine Preparatory in Surprise told KTAR News 92.3 FM the individual was linked to the school, but did not clarify whether it was a student or an employee.

Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine with Maricopa County Public Health told KTAR News a student at a preparatory school in Surprise had the positive test, but didn’t say if it was Imagine Schools.

Sunenshine said the student was in school from Aug. 1 to April 4, but is no longer there.

Cagle said the county health department identified 131 people who should be tested as a precaution.

The department did not recommend that the school change routines or schedules, she added.

“The health and safety of our students is our highest priority,” Cagle said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“We are grateful for the immediate and professional response from the Maricopa County Department of Health and are doing everything possible to support their work.”

County health officials were notified of the positive test late last week, according to ABC15.

The school sent a letter to parents Tuesday, saying it was “not an emergency situation.”

The letter clarified that only high school students were identified as being potentially exposed to the disease.

Sunenshine said students would have to be in a room with an infected person for a “prolonged period” in order to be exposed to it, and the likelihood they would be infected is “very, very low.”

Students and employees at the school near Reems and Greenways roads can get tested for tuberculosis through the county health department.

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs, according to Mayo Clinic.

The bacteria that causes the disease are spread in the air through coughs and sneezes.

Symptoms include long periods of coughing, chest pain, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever and chills.

Those with the disease often have to take several types of medications for many months to eradicate it.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 

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