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Superintendent: Person at South Portland High School diagnosed with tuberculosis

The diagnosis was announced in a letter from the superintendent on Wednesday. The district said the exposure happened in June.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A person from South Portland High School was diagnosed with tuberculosis, according to the superintendent. 

Superintendent Tim Matheney sent out a letter Wednesday detailing the diagnosis. 

The letter stated those who had close contact with the infected individual should get tested. Matheney added those who had close contact with the infected individual have been notified. 

"TB bacteria are spread into the air when a person with TB disease coughs, speaks or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. The possibility of spreading TB infection is low," the letter stated. 

The Maine CDC told NEWS CENTER Maine it is also monitoring the case, adding that while the illness is still active in the individual, they are no longer contagious.

Dr. Dora Mills, the chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, said the likelihood this one case can turn into an outbreak in the South Portland community is low.

"There is no reason to panic at all we are used to around 25 cases a year in Maine... if you or someone you know were exposed, get treated even if you have no symptoms so it doesn't evolve into something bad," Dr. Mills said.

Symptoms of tuberculosis include a long-lasting cough, weakness, weight loss, fever, night sweats, and chest tightness.

Dr. Mills added many people do not show symptoms, so if you were a close contact to someone with tuberculosis, she recommends getting tested.

South Portland High School said in its statement that everyone who had close contact with the previously infectious case has already been contacted.

For more information on tuberculosis, click here.

"Maine CDC epidemiologists are available to answer any questions about tuberculosis diagnosis or management through the 24/7 disease reporting line at 1-800-821-5821," the letter stated. 

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