Voluntary Testing for TB

April 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Several students and parents took steps Saturday to calm their fears about the tuberculosis scare at Madera South high school.A few at a time, they walked up to the administration area of the school and got tested for TB.

Two students have been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, meaning the disease is in their system right now and making them sick.

The school tested about 100 students and teachers who had direct contact with the first sick student. That's how they found the second one, as well as about 15 more students who had abnormal tests. That means they've been exposed to TB at some point in their lives, but it doesn't mean they're about to be sick too.

The people who came for testing Saturday did it on a voluntary basis, mostly because they're scared.

Alyssa Fernandez, Madera South sophomore, says "I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't have it because a lot of the kids at school are really freaking out about it. They feel that we didn't get informed as well as we should have. They're freaking out about who they're sitting next to because they ask themselves 'ooh, you're sitting next to xx, he might have TB. So, it's sad."

The test involves giving a shot that creates a bump on your arm. Doctors check out the bump in two or three days and they can figure out if you've been exposed to TB based on how big the bump gets.

The strain of TB making the kids sick in Madera is easily treated with antibiotics.

Health officials say it's the third time the lung disease has spread in Madera schools over the last ten years.


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