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Officials find no new cases of active tuberculosis at Homewood High School

Investigators from the Jefferson County Department of Health found no new active cases of tuberculosis at Homewood High School, said Dr. Edward Khan, medical director of disease control.

On March 24, health officials announced that a freshman at the school had been diagnosed with active tuberculosis. Health department employees descended on the school and tested 907 students and 165 staff members.

Three staff members and 36 students tested positive on the skin test, which means they may have latent tuberculosis or an infection related to the disease. All will be treated with preventive medications, but cannot transmit the disease to other people. None of the people with a positive skin test had close contact with the infected student, Khan said.

“I think they are unrelated positive cases,” Khan said.

Khan said the news should be reassuring to parents and students at Homewood High School. So far, no one in close contact with the student has tested positive for active tuberculosis.

The investigation is not over yet. Investigators will return to campus on May 18 for a second round of testing. Tuberculosis can incubate for up to eight weeks before the body begins to react. Khan said the second round of testing will ensure no infections are missed because of a false negative test during that incubation period.

If health department employees do not find any active cases during the second round of testing, they will close the investigation, Khan said.

“It’s a very reassuring message,” Khan said. “There’s no evidence of transmission to other students or staff at the high school.”

By: Amy Yurkanin, AL.com

Image by Amy Yurkanin

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