St. Cloud student diagnosed with tuberculosis - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

St. Cloud student diagnosed with tuberculosis

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KMSP) -

Parents in St. Cloud tell FOX 9 News they got a surprising call on Thursday morning, informing them a student at Apollo High School was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

For many, tuberculosis -- commonly referred to as TB -- is a scary word. The airborne disease can be contracted through close contact, but some students didn't know anything about the it -- other than the fact that it can kill.

On Thursday, students learned that one of their classmates was diagnosed with the contagious bacterial disease -- but the district's nursing coordinator, Katie Bauerly, tried to ease their fears by pointing out that in order to contract TB, you must have close and lengthy exposure to the infected person.

"You have to breathe in the bacteria and get it past your nose and into your throat and into your lung," she explained.

In a spacious school setting, the Minnesota Health Department is classifying the announcement as a low-risk case.

Superintendent Bruce Watkins told FOX 9 News he was notified on April 17th that one of the students had tuberculosis, but he waited to notify parents because they wanted to have all the facts before going to the public. To date, it remains contained to the one person.

Overall, parents don't seem to be too worried, but Melissa Shankey said she plans to talk with her son about the disease to calm any of his fears.

"Everybody likes to call everything a public health scare, and I don't think that's going to be the issue here," she said.

Tuberculosis can be detected through a skin test. Anyone who is concerned that they may have contracted it should consult their doctor.

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