Student tests positive for TB in Minnesota

Public health officials in Olmstead County, Minnesota, recently announced that a middle school student has tested positive for tuberculosis.

The officials said that they are actively investigating the case but believe that the risk of exposure to other students and staff at the Willow Creek Middle School in Rochester remains low. Regardless, they are advising some who may have had close contact with the infected student to be tested for the highly infectious disease, according to

The school is informing the parents of students who might be at risk by mail. Those believed to be at higher risk will be offered a TB skin test.

The infected student is currently being treated at home and will not be allowed back to school until they are no longer considered infectious, reports.

Public health officials said that while TB is an infectious disease, it requires close contact over a long period of time to be easily transmitted. They said it is unusual for people to become infected by those who are not close friends or relatives.

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If not treated, the illness can be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

TB bacteria can live inside a person without making them sick. Latent TB infection can be determined by a skin or blood test. Those with latent TB are not infectious, but, over time, the infection may become active.