Bullard High student diagnosed with tuberculosis

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Several hundred classmates who were in classes or had contact with him must be tested for the infectious disease. (KFSN)

A Bullard High Student has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. Now, several hundred classmates who were in classes or had contact with him must be tested for the infectious disease.

The student showed up at the Fresno County Health Department last week for some immunizations. A TB Test was given and a few days later was checked and positive. The only symptom he had was a cough.

Fresno County Health Officials aren't sure how long the unidentified Bullard High student had tuberculosis but it was confirmed Thursday after additional tests and a chest x-ray showed the disease was active. The student initially came to the attention of health workers on September 29. The concern now is to test those who were around the infected student frequently.

"Basically, it's classmates that have shared an enclosed area with the student for a considerable amount of time," Dr. Ken Bird said. "We're talking hours."

Fresno Unified officials notified all 270 exposed students Friday along with 12 teachers and staff members. Friday afternoon, a telephone message was also sent to parents. For now, the infected student is not attending classes.

"The student is receiving treatment and not be released back into school until deemed that the treatment is completed and that they are no longer contagious," Gail Williams with the district said.

A clinic will be held at Bullard High on Tuesday to test those who have been exposed. Other students and staff members can also be tested too.
There is no immunization for TB and those infected can carry the disease for years. Symptoms include a fever, night sweats and weight loss.

Health officials are also trying to track down the origination of the infection.

"Part of this contact investigation is to not only find students that may have been infected from this student," Williams said. "But also to try to find out how that student actually got the disease."

This is the 47th case of TB this year in Fresno County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick.

As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

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