Fort Bend County
Health & Human Services
4520 Reading Road- Suite A- Rosenberg, TX 77471
M. desVignes-Kendrick, M.D., Director
August 23, 2017
For immediate release
Results from the Second Round of TB Testing at George Bush High School
Fort Bend County Health & Human Services is continuing the investigation of contacts to active tuberculosis (TB) at George Bush High School (GBHS) in the Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD). The health department, FBISD, and GBHS staff have been collaborating during the summer to communicate with students and faculty that have been identified as exposed to the TB bacteria during the last school year. Numerous calls were made, and the health department and FBISD sent emails and letters to those who needed testing for TB infection.
On Monday, June 19, the first mass screening event took place. This screening was conducted to identify those already infected with tuberculosis and needed medical evaluation and medication to prevent further illness. On this date, 228 students and faculty were tested, with 10 testing positive for infection.
The second round of testing was on August 3, to determine if any other students and faculty were showing positive for TB infection eight weeks past the break in contact, which was the end of the school year. The second round of testing was mandatory for all students and staff identified as at risk for TB infection. In this second round, 559 students and faculty have been tested so far with 10 new positives identified. It is not possible to determine if all 20 infections are related to the active cases at George Bush High School or from other exposures. However, all can be evaluated and offered preventive medication.
Those who tested positive have undergone further medical evaluations and have been prescribed treatment so they do not become ill with active TB. To date, no new active cases of TB have been found at GBHS. The health department will continue to reach out to those students who may have graduated or transferred out of GBHS. These students will need to complete a second round test even if they have moved away from GBHS.
As a reminder, a positive test does not mean that the person is ill with active TB disease; it simply means that they have been exposed to the bacteria and are infected. They may never develop TB disease and cannot spread the disease while only having a positive test for infection. The health department will offer preventive medication to these individuals to reduce the likelihood of future illness.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria. It typically causes a disease of the lungs, but can affect other organs of the body. While tuberculosis can spread from person to person, it usually takes prolonged close contact with a person with active disease. It cannot be spread as easily as a cold, or flu or measles, but may be spread if droplets containing the bacteria, coughed or sneezed into the air, reach the lungs of another person. Symptoms of tuberculosis include persistent and productive cough lasting more than two weeks, unexplained fevers, night sweats, unexplained weight loss or coughing up blood. Anyone with those symptoms should go to their health care provider. Others who are not considered at risk, but who just want testing, may visit their private physician.