Tuberculosis investigation continues at Bush High School

Fort Bend County Health and Human Services is continuing the routine investigation into active tuberculosis (TB) at George Bush High School.

The health department will conduct a second round of TB testing at the high school on Thursday, Aug. 3. All 647 students and 27 faculty who were previously notified that they may have been exposed are required to attend the testing on that date, unless already identified as positive during the first round of testing.

Testing for infection will be conducted using a blood test. Information about the testing date was sent to those families who have a student needing to be tested. A second letter was sent to the rest of the families and faculty whom do not need to be tested.

During the first round of testing, 11 individuals were identified with a positive blood test, indicating infection with the bacteria that causes TB. A positive test does not mean that the person is ill with active TB disease; it simply means that they have been exposed to the bacteria and are infected. The infected person may never develop tuberculosis and cannot spread the disease to anyone else while only testing positive. The health department will offer a medical evaluation and preventive medication to those individuals to reduce the likelihood of future illness.

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria. It typically causes a disease of the lungs, but can affect other organs of the body. While tuberculosis can be spread from person to person, it usually takes prolonged close contact with a person with active disease. It is not spread as easily as a cold, flu or measles, but may be spread if droplets coughed or sneezed into the air reach the lungs of another person.

Symptoms of tuberculosis disease include persistent and productive cough lasting more than two weeks, unexplained fevers, night sweats, unexplained weight loss or coughing up blood. Anyone with these symptoms should go to their health care provider. Others who are not considered to be at risk, but who desire a medical evaluation, may visit their private physician.

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