200 students get tested for TB at Hephzibah High

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News 12 First at Five/Monday April 21, 2014

RICHMOND CO., Ga. (WRDW)--It was a normal Monday for most students at Hephzibah High school, but about 10 percent of students spent their morning getting tested to see if they'd been exposed to tuberculosis.

"We had a list of about 200 students who needed to be tested. We got 111 tested today," said Tammy Burdeaux, the district health department's nursing and clinical director.

Just days ago, parents learned one student there showed symptoms of TB and some students would need to be tested.

Today we learned some--means 200 out of almost 1200 students at Hephizabh High.

"I know there was a question as to why isn't everyone being tested," said Burdeaux. "We want to make sure we get all of the critical people first."

Burdeaux says the critical people include students and teachers who came into direct contact with that first student, "to make sure that we're not just out testing the general population," she said. "Because that could really skew the results of our contact investigation."

Now, it's a waiting game.

"It will probably be about 10 days before we know anything definitive on how many positives we had and how many are actually going to need to be treated," said Burdeaux.

At that point, they'll also determine if others need to be tested too.

But today she wants parents and students to know this: there is no reason to worry.

"We're doing everything we possibly can," she explained. "We want to get everyone treated and we don't want to cause fear and panic where there's no need for there to be fear and panic."

Burdeaux also wants to remind parents that for anyone who has been exposed, treatment involves antibiotics and is easy an effective.

For the 111 students who were tested Monday, their results will come out on Wednesday, April 23.

The remaining 89 students who were not tested Monday weren't tested because they were either out or came in late, so the Health Department will test them Wednesday, April 23.

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