RICHMOND, Texas — The Fort Bend County Health and Human Services office is scheduled to conduct its second round of tuberculosis testing Thursday at George Bush High School following concerns hundreds of students and dozens of faculty members may have contracted the disease.
The health department and other staff conducted TB testing using blood samples at the high school on June 19. Although 647 students and 27 faculty were informed that they needed testing, only a disappointing 228 individuals presented to the school for the first round of testing.
During this first round of testing, officials said six 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. They may never develop TB disease and cannot spread the disease to anyone else while only having a positive test for infection. The health department will offer preventative medication to these individuals to reduce the likelihood of future illness.
Health department protocol requires an investigation for possible infections from the source case. First family are tested and then, if necessary, those who have the next closest contact, which may be co-workers or classmates. Depending on the results of the testing, the investigation may be over or more testing may be recommended.
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.
All students and faculty who were previously notified must attend the testing on that date, unless already identified as positive during the first round of testing.
Check out the below links to find a clinic in your area.
- Houston Department of Health and Human Services
- Sharpstown Medical Clinic
- Harris County Health Department
- Sunnyside Health Center
- Harris County Public Health Humble Clinic
- Brazoria County Health Department
- Northside Health Center