Montgomery County officials have identified two cases of tuberculosis, at an elementary and middle school in Silver Spring, prompting administrators to send warning letters to parents yesterday.
One of the infected students is enrolled at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, school system spokesman Brian Edwards said. The other child briefly attended Glenallan Elementary before transferring to Kemp Mill Elementary this school year, he said. All the schools are in Silver Spring.
Edwards, who did not publicly identify the students, said those schools will administer skin tests to students Feb. 8, and results will be checked Feb. 10.
Students who do not test positive will receive yellow "clearance cards." A second skin test will be performed at school for those students within eight to 12 weeks to screen for delayed infections.
Both of the infected students have been staying out of school. They have been treated and no longer are contagious, Edwards said.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that most commonly affects the lungs. It is usually spread through coughing or sneezing during prolonged contact with an infected individual, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and county health officials.
Those who are infected may not immediately show symptoms of the disease -- such as a lingering cough, chills and loss of appetite -- and may not even be contagious. But they could develop tuberculosis later in life if they are not treated.
According to the county Health Department, the disease affects about one in every 16,000 people in Maryland.
Nationwide, tuberculosis is most common in people older than 65, according to the CDC.
In 2003, the last year for which data were available, 1.5 percent of children 14 and younger contracted the disease.