FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2015

Contact:
Lindsey M. Williams, Esq.
Director of Communications
Lindsey_Williams@pft400.org
Office: 412-431-5900
Cell: 412-443-0226

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT400) President Nina Esposito-Visgitis issued the following statement in response to the Allegheny County Health Department’s (ACHD) confirmation that a student at South Hills Middle School has tested positive for tuberculosis (TB):

PFT400 is working with the District and the Allegheny Health Department to ensure the safety and well-being of all students and staff by working to identify those who may have been exposed to TB germs. While the risk of transmission of TB is low, we are taking this seriously. We encourage parents to attend tonight’s informational meeting and we encourage students and staff who believe they were exposed to TB germs to get tested.

PFT400’s thoughts are with the student and his/her family. We wish the student a speedy recovery and that the rest of his/her family remains healthy.

This case and the recent outbreaks of measles and mumps is a reminder that we all need to be vigilant about our health. That means staying current with the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations regarding immunizations. Our teachers, paraprofessionals and healthcare workers are on the frontlines of maintaining the health and safety of our community and can be at an increased risk of exposure to dangerous diseases. Vaccinations are an essential weapon in deterring the spread of communicable diseases. Therefore, we encourage all our members to consult with their healthcare providers on possible boosters and reimmunizations and urge guardians to keep their children’s vaccinations up to date.

Parents and families of students who attend South Hills Middle School, Concord and Brashear have been invited to a parent meeting scheduled for today, Tuesday February 10th, at 5:30 p.m. in the Pittsburgh Brashear High School auditorium. Dr. Karen Hacker Director of the ACHD will be on hand to answer questions families may have.
Free TB Testing: While the risk of infecting others is minimal, the ACHD, District administration and PFT400 recommends that all students of Pittsburgh South Hills receive a TB screening test to determine if they have been exposed. ACHD will be at Pittsburgh South Hills on Tuesday, February 17th to conduct a free TB screening test. The screening is a test called TST and does not require blood to be drawn. Screening will only be conducted with parent/guardian authorization. Staff and students at Concord and Brashear are not required to have a test but can contact their private health care provider if they would want to be tested. Staff and students from Brashear are also welcome to go to South Hills on the 17th for the free screening. PFT400 and the District are working on making arrangements for Concord staff and students. Additional information may be found on the District’s website at www.pps.k12.pa.us/health.

For more information about tuberculosis, visit the Center for Disease Control’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/tb/default.htm.

PFT400 is a union of professionals working to help our children learn, grow, and succeed in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.  Founded in 1935, PFT400 has been a leader in educational innovation and change in our public schools.

###