Mandatory testing for tuberculosis at a Gwinnett County school yielded at several more positive cases, county health department officials confirmed Tuesday.
Last month, the Gwinnett County school district confirmed an active case at Discovery High School. Students and staff who were in close contact with that person were tested, a total of about 240 people.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Gwinnett County Health Department mandated that everyone at the school gets tested by this Friday. That’s more than 3,000 individuals.
Tammy Batton told Channel 2 Action News that her son had been tested last Friday and received results on Monday. He came home with a letter stating his skin test came back positive.
“If they’re telling me he needs additional testing, there’s something wrong,” Batton said.
The next step is a chest X-ray to determine if Batton’s son has an active or latent case of TB.
“All the test shows is that he came into contact with tuberculosis at some point,” said Chad Conner, a health department spokesman. “Whether it’s active or latent there is treatment available.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several oral medications that will treat either form of TB.
Batton said her biggest concern was that her son may have been contagious this entire time.
Unless her son was visibly ill, with symptoms such as a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, chest pain, coughing up blood or phlegm from deep inside the lungs, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and/or night sweats, he wouldn’t have been contagious, said Conner.
The health department said if her son hasn’t had any symptoms, then he’s not contagious, which is why he’s allowed to still go to school.
Being exposed to the infection doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll get sick, said Conner.
Anyone who didn’t get tested Friday should have been tested Monday. The district said those results will be read Wednesday.
Everyone else is required to be tested and have their results turned into the health department by April 19. If not, those children will not be allowed at school, the health department said.
Health officials have not determined how many other positive cases there are, said Conner. Final results will take a while to compile.
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