FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — In its second round of testing, 10 additional people have tested positive for tuberculosis at George Bush High School. However, health officials report there are no active cases.
The Fort Bend County Health and Human Services Department conducted its second round of testing Aug. 3, screening 559 students and faculty for the disease. During the first round of testing on June 19, officials said 288 people were tested and 10 individuals were determined to be TB positive.
Officials said it's impossible to determine if all 20 infections are related to the active cases at George Bush High School or from other exposures. However, all can be evaluated and offered preventative medication.
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.
Kaye Reynolds is the deputy director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services. She says it's not easy to catch TB.
"The person with active TB has to cough up droplets of sputum with the bacteria in it and it has to get into the lungs of the next person for infection."
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 spread from person to person, it usually takes prolonged close contact with a person with active disease.
It cannot be spread as easily as a cold, or flu or measles, but may be spread if droplets coughed or sneezed into the air reach the lungs of another person.
Symptoms of tuberculosis include persistent and productive cough lasting more than two weeks, unexplained fevers, night sweats, unexplained weight loss or coughing up blood.
About a dozen at George Bush High still need to be tested. Meanwhile the county health and human services department will keep investigating.
"We want to be sure that we don't have any more people in the community who are infected with TB, potentially could develop disease and then spread it in their community wherever they are now."
Those being treated are allowed on campus because they're not considered a health risk. But, they may require multiple antibiotics much longer than the school year will last.
If you believe that you or someone that you know have been infected, you should immediately contact your health care provider. You can also visit a private physician or a health department clinic.
Check out the below links to find a clinic in your area.