Tuberculosis Testing Expanded at Grant Union High School

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The Sacramento County public health officer says 500 additional students and staff will be tested for tuberculosis at Grant Union High School.

The school reported in February that a student had an active case of TB.  Because the disease is transmitted through the air, those who had closest contact with the student were tested.  A high percentage showed signs of the disease.

“Forty-seven out of about 200 students tested positive with a skin test,” Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said.

The forty-seven had a non-contagious version called latent TB.  They show no symptoms and are actually not ill.  But 5 to 10 percent eventually come down with active tuberculosis.  There can be serious consequences if they are not treated with antibiotics.

“The will get worse and they can die,” said Kasirye.

Parents of the students targeted for testing have been notified.  The screening involves injecting a solution under the skin and checking for a reaction a few days later.  Families can opt out of the tests and will still be allowed to go to school.  But health officials recommended that those who opt out  get tested by their health care provider.

TB cases are more commonly associated with adults in their workplaces rather than kids in school, but any environment that involves groups of people in enclosed spaces are vulnerable to airborne illnesses.

The one active case in the school back in February was successfully treated and is back in class after being held out for several weeks.  The expanded TB testing is scheduled for Monday.

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