Vancouver Coastal Health issues warning of tuberculosis case at Richmond school

TB warning at BC school

Vancouver Coastal Health is warning staff, students and their parents at a Richmond high school of a tuberculosis case.

A May 4 memo to staff and parents of Palmer Secondary School states “a person” at the school has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, a bacterial infection of the lungs

The memo is light on details, not stating when the person attended school. It goes on to explain what TB is and that the “general school population is at very low risk of exposure.”

VCH states that “only those who have had close contact may be at risk and will be offered testing for TB.” Unless the public health authority contacts you, you have not been identified as a close contact, the memo states.

The TB case comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic when social distancing and mask use is being implemented in schools, to a certain degree. Students at Palmer are required to wear masks in classrooms and they have altered schedules to reduce interactions between their cohorts of up to 120 students.

Common TB symptoms, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, are: a “productive” cough, shortness of breath, fever, weight loss, night sweats and fatigue.

Common means of diagnosis are a blood test and chest X-ray. VCH says questions can be directed to 604-707-2400 (extension 272460).

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