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Tuberculosis cases spread, 221 tested positive

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A second case of active tuberculosis was confirmed Friday, Oct. 7 in Ennis and health officials are currently awaiting to determine a case in Denton, an hour and half north on Interstate Highway 35.

Denton County Health Department started testing for tuberculosis at Denton High School Tuesday, Oct.11 after a student who transferred from Ennis was suspected of having an active case of the disease. 

More than 200 students who have come in close contact with the referenced teenager are expected to get a skin test as well as some staffers according to reports.

Health officials had been reviewing 10 suspected cases of TB at Ennis High School recently and now, one of those 10 is known to be an active case.

The test results for the nine other suspected cases should come in quickly.

Since the scare began, almost 1,600 TB skin tests have been conducted, and of those, 221 tested positive.

Seniors who graduated Ennis High School are also being contacted because the teacher was apparently showing symptoms last year according to school district officials.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is planning on performing follow-up tests, possibly before the end of the fall semester. Due to the incubation period, all students who tested negative will be retested. 

Information from the Center of Disease Control reports “TB” is short for tuberculosis. TB disease 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. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. 

How TB is spread

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

TB is NOT spread by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes and kissing.

Symptoms 

Symptoms of TB depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs (pulmonary TB). TB disease in the lungs may cause symptoms such as a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer pain in the chest coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs).

Other symptoms of TB disease are: weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.

Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.

Ennis Independent School district issued the following statement to direct everyone’s concerns in the community: “EISD continues to cooperate with TDSHS, with the top priority being the health and safety of all district students, faculty and staff. Your support and understanding during this challenging period has been and will continue to be greatly appreciated.”


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