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Active case of tuberculosis confirmed at Fort Bend ISD’s Kempner High School

SUGAR LAND, Texas - An active case of tuberculosis (TB) has been confirmed at Sugar Land's Kempner High School. Fort Bend County Health & Human Services is leading the investigation and has already identified a small group of students and staff that need to be tested.

School officials sent home a letter to parents that reads in part, "Tuberculosis is a bacterial illness acquired through breathing in infected droplets from the cough or sneeze of a person with active TB. Tuberculosis is not easily transmitted. It is spread when a person inhales airborne germs over a long period of time in a confined area from someone with the disease who coughs or sneezes."

The letter goes on to state the individuals needing to be tested have already been contacted.

"We're going to test anybody that potentially could have been infected," said Kaye Reynolds, the deputy director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services. "If they are infected, we'll get them preventive medicine that will stop them from having to worry about breaking down with active TB at some point later in their life. That way, we can gradually stop the tuberculosis in the community."

Dr. Pam Sanders, a pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold's Fort Bend clinic, says there's multiple ways to test for both active and latent tuberculosis.

"The testing for tuberculosis is either a skin test or a blood test," Sanders said. "Either of those tests can be used. Neither of them actually makes the distinction between active TB or latent TB. So, we really have to look at the chest X-ray and look at symptoms to make the distinction."

In August 2017, 20 people tested positive for TB at Fort Bend's Bush High School.