More tuberculosis testing coming to Butler High School

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Richmond County TB Control will continue the testing for Butler High School students and staff on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be reading the results.

Even though many students have already been tested, parents are more than willing the second time around.

"Second opinion never hurts," said grandmother Joyce White.

White's grandson is a senior at Butler High School and is one of the students that has already been tested for tuberculosis.

"He got checked at his primary care physician's office," White explained.

When they got the results it said, "[They] were negative. So he was cleared of having the disease."

That could still be true, but the health department is urging everyone -- even those with negative skin tests -- to get tested again.

That's because TB can take up to three months to show up positive on a skin test.

So, Richmond County TB Control is conducting a second round of testing.

"I think that's their way of ensuring everyone is given the proper treatment, proper medication to prevent any spread," said Superintendent Frank Roberson.

As of December, nearly 700 students, teachers and staff had been tested. Of those, 135 were found positive.

But doctors say having a positive skin test is not the same as having the active disease.

"The bottom line is if it's a positive TB skin test, this does not mean your child is going to get active disease and have this horrible infection that has to land him in the hospital," said Infectious Disease Doctor James Wilde.

So far, there have only been three cases of students with active tuberculosis.

The testing this week is to make sure that number hasn't risen.

"Things change, so it's good to go ahead and have that second testing done. I suggest that all parents look in to having their children tested at least a second time," White said.

According to the Health Department, the three students with active tuberculosis disease have a strain that is resistant to the most common drug used to treat the disease. They're now being treated with other drugs.

At the school today, at least 100 people were tested.

News 12 will keep you updated on the latest testing results.

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