TB Testing Round Two at Ennis High School

Parents say they are frustrated by lack of information

By Randy McIlwain
|  Friday, Sep 23, 2011  |  Updated 9:45 PM CDT
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So far 80 Ennis High School students have tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis and the second round of tests happened Friday.

Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News

So far 80 Ennis High School students have tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis and the second round of tests happened Friday.

Photos and Videos

Doctor: Students With Positive TB Skin Test Shouldn't Panic

Students who tested positively for exposure to tuberculosis are getting chest X-rays to determine if they have the infection.

80 at Ennis High Test Positive for TB Exposure

Eighty people tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis at Ennis High School.
More Photos and Videos

Some parents say the Ennis Independent School District is doing a poor job of answering questions about the tuberculosis testing the state is conducting.

The Texas Department of Health Services conducted a second round of testing on students at Ennis High School where 80 students have tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis.

The initial round of testing was conducted because a teacher who is now on medical leave was diagnosed with the bacterial infection before the start of the school year.

Veronica Valdez, whose son tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis in the first round of testing, went to the Ennis ISD administration building to ask about her son's health, the risks for the rest of her family and if the school is medically safe.

"They don't care about the community at all," she said. "Beyond, beyond frustration -- this ... is insane."

Valdez said school officials told her to contact the State Department of Health Services. But because of federal guidelines on the release of medical information, the state agency cannot say much, if anything, over the phone about a specific individual's medical test.

Some parents say it's the school district's responsibility to answer questions because exposure most likely occurred at the high school. But an Ennis ISD spokesperson said the district can't comment on the testing because it's a state investigation and because student confidentiality prevents it.

Medical experts say a positive skin test does not mean the patient has tuberculosis; a positive test just means the person has been exposed to it.

But Valdez said it just raises more concerns about the health of her son and family.

"It's horrifying," she said. "It's frustrating, and I'm upset, and it's like our hands are tied. We don't have any rights."

Her son begins nine months of medication on Monday to make sure he doesn't develop tuberculosis.


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