Tuberculosis Outbreak Concerns Parents

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More than 400 families in northern Virginia have been possibly exposed to tuberculosis after an outbreak at Lee High School in Fairfax County. But should this be a concern here in the valley?

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a contagious disease, spread easily through the air. It can be fatal if it goes untreated. That is why doctors say it is important to know the symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, TB is spread through the air. That means you can get it from a person coughing, sneezing, speaking or even singing. That concerns parents, because their kids can catch it so easily from other kids at school.

The Virginia Department of Health says symptoms can be tough to spot because they are gradual. But some signs include feeling tired, losing weight, fever and night sweats. If it is in your lungs, symptoms can include a bad cough that does not improve, chest pain or a cough with blood or mucus in it.

The good news is that TB outbreaks are rare in the valley. According to the Virginia Department of Health, there were only a few reported cases of TB in our area last year. That includes four cases in Harrisonburg and one in Waynesboro.

If you think you have been exposed to someone with TB, you can contact your doctor or local health department for a TB skin test.