Denton ISD Re-Tests Students for Tuberculosis

Health officials perform follow-up tests on Tuesday

By Sara Story
|  Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011  |  Updated 7:43 PM CDT
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Denton High Retests for TB

Sara Story, Denton Reporter

Denton High Retests for TB

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Separating TB Fear from Reality

The Dallas County Health Department hopes education helps people deal with their concerns about tuberculosis.

"No Evidence" of School-Based TB Outbreak in Denton

Health officials say fewer than 5 percent of the approximately 270 people tested had positive test results for exposure to tuberculosis.
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The Denton Independent School District is one step closer to putting a tuberculosis scare to rest. A second round of skin testing started Tuesday, almost two months after a Denton High student tested positive for the bacterial infection.

"We have been really really fortunate, because no other students have contacted tuberculosis at this time," Denton ISD Communications Director Sharon Cox said.

School officials and parents were concerned after the 16-year-old student was diagnosed with tuberculosis in October. That student transferred to Denton High from the Ennis Independent School District where there was a tuberculosis outbreak.

"There was always the chance that we were going to have a big problem, not just a scare, a problem," Denton High mom Keally Howell said.

Those fears were calmed when health officials tested nearly 300 students for exposure to the airborne bacterial infection in October and  found no active cases. Cox said the second round of tests were a precautionary measure. It can take up to 10 weeks for a tuberculosis case to develop. 

"The Denton County Health Department recommended the re-test to make sure there were no latent cases of tuberculosis," Cox said. 

Health officials tested around 200 people Tuesday, and that whole process took only 2 hours. They tested the students and staff who tested negative the first time around.

"They were like calling people out of class by sections to just check," Denton High student Emilio Morales said. "People came back to class quick."

Parents said they were pleased with the process.

"I'm okay with what they [the school district] have done. They seem to have grasped a hold of the issue and done everything they could to take care of it and prevent anything from getting worse than it already was," Howell said.

The final results will be in on Thursday. Anyone who tests positive will receive a chest x-ray to see if the case is active.

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