George Bush High School students being tested for tuberculosis

Fort Bend County Health and Human Services is conducting a routine investigation due to an active tuberculosis at George Bush High School. Officials say students who need to be tested will be notified and those who do not need to be tested will receive a letter stating that as well.

FBCHHS released this press release about the investigation:

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.

Health department protocol requires an investigation for possible infections from the source case.  First, family members are tested and then, if necessary, those who have the closest contacts are tested, which may be at a work or school setting.  Depending on the results of the testing, the investigation may be over, or more testing may be recommended.

Health department and other staff will conduct testing at George Bush High School on Monday, June 19th. Testing for TB Infection will be conducted using a blood test. Information has been sent to those families who have a student who needs to be tested.  A different letter stating that no testing is needed was sent to the rest of the families, i.e., those families whose students do not need to be tested. 

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.

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 or a health department clinic.