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Tuberculosis case confirmed at Scarborough high school

TCDSB letter about tuberculosis, released Sept. 27, 2013

TCDSB letter about tuberculosis released on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.


TORONTO – An individual at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough has contracted tuberculosis, Toronto Public Health says.

Corrado Maltese, safety manager for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, says the risk of exposure is “very low.”

“Clearly, this is not an outbreak and that’s very important to know. It’s one case and the risk at this particular time is very low,” he said.

But in response to the case, Maltese says the school board has increased cleaning and infection control at the school.

In a letter sent home with students, principal Andrea Magee says only those with close, prolonged contact with the individual require a follow-up.

“TPH has reassured us that the general school population is at very low risk of exposure and that only those with close contact are at risk and should be tested for TB,” Magee wrote.

Toronto Public Health would not confirm whether the infected individual is a student or staff member but says the individual is on treatment and recovering at home.

It adds that TB is not easily spread.

“You can’t pick it up off surfaces, not from sharing food or toilets or anything like that. It’s spread through the air when someone who has TB in their lungs coughs or sneezes the bacteria out into the air and somebody else breathes them in,” a spokesperson said.

There are about 300 active cases of TB annually in Toronto, according to Toronto Public Health.