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Centers for Disease Control Uses Lee High School's TB Outbreak as Case Study

Testing sites were set up at the school, providing the Lee High School community with a convenient place to be screened and tested for the presence of latent TB infection.

Testing sites were set up at the school, providing the Lee High School community with a convenient place to be screened and tested for the presence of latent TB infection. CDC photo
Testing sites were set up at the school, providing the Lee High School community with a convenient place to be screened and tested for the presence of latent TB infection. CDC photo
A tuberculosis outbreak last year at Fairfax County Public School's Lee High School is being used by a federal agency as a "how to" for handling such incidents.

The Centers for Disease Control this week highlighted last summer's incident, highlighting step by step how it was investigated. The following is an excerpt from the case study published on the CDC Web site. 

A tuberculosis outbreak at Robert E. Lee High School affected the community of Springfield, Virginia in the summer of 2013. 

It all began after three students in the same school were diagnosed with TB disease within six months of one another, prompting the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), located just outside Washington, DC, to launch a broad TB contact investigation.

The purpose of the TB contact investigation was to determine who may have been exposed, find out whether transmission had occurred, and prevent future cases of active TB disease. Initial testing of the investigation included over 500 students, faculty, and staff, which indicated TB infection among the U.S. born was higher than the national average, with 5% testing positive.

As a result, Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Fairfax County Director of Health expanded the investigation to the entire school of 2,277 to avoid the prolonged period of anxiety that the methodical process of a standard TB ring investigation would have created. To effectively conduct the investigation, Dr. Addo-Ayensu instituted the Incident Command System (ICS), a standardized, all-hazards incident management approach that organizes the planning, personnel, and resources required for a response to an event.

Read the rest of the article on the CDC site.

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