FORT WORTH, Texas (Apr. 5, 2012)
Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) today announced that of the 105 students or faculty who returned Thursday to Tarrant County College Southeast Campus to have their tuberculosis (TB) skin tests read, six were positive. Anyone with positive readings will receive a chest X-ray on April 20 and meet with a Public Health physician to determine treatment.
A positive test does not mean the person contracted latent or sleeping TB from the former TCC student who was active. It was expected that some of those tested at TCC would test positive due to living circumstances, including living in a high density area or have previously lived overseas, especially in a country with a high incidence of TB.
On April 3, 126 of the about 200 students and faculty who may have been in contact with a former TCC student treated for active TB took TB skin tests. Tests will be offered again on Tuesday, April 17, for students and faculty who missed the original test. Letters and emails will be sent to notify them.
Gerry Drewyer, R.N., B.S.N., division manager of the TCPH Tuberculosis Elimination Program, and Woody Kageler, M.D., M.B.A., TCC medical advisor and director of the Allied Health Department, answered questions about the TB test results and next steps at a news conference Thursday at TCC Southeast Campus.
An estimated one-third of the worldwide population and 5 to 10 percent of the United States population have latent or sleeping tuberculosis and live normal lives.
- April 17: Skin tests for anyone who missed April 3
- April 19: Read TB skin tests taken April 17
- April 20: Anyone with positive TB tests on April 5 or 19 to visit Tarrant County Public Health doctor to receive chest X-ray and medication for treatment
- Treatment for active TB is mandatory and there is a procedure that TCPH will follow if someone chooses not to take the treatment
- Latent or sleeping TB is not contagious; it only means that a person has been exposed to TB, which could have been 10 years ago.
- If a person has sleeping TB and does not take medication, it can “wake up” at any time. When it wakes up, a person can have active TB. Therefore, treatment is essential.
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