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Grayson students to be tested for TB

LOGANVILLE - About 200 students at Grayson High School must be tested for tuberculosis, because a 10th-grade student is being treated for the bacterial disease.

The Gwinnett County Health Department will provide free testing April 17 in the high school's auxiliary gymnasium for the 202 students and 11 faculty members who were in closest and continuous contact with the student, officials said.

"We're treating it as an active case until we can rule it otherwise," said Vernon Goins, spokesman for the Health Department.

Active tuberculosis bacteria are spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Others become infected by breathing in the bacteria. Exposure to tuberculosis does not guarantee an infection.

The students who must take the test will be notified. Grayson Principal Keith Chaney is mailing letters of notification today to parents of students who must be tested, said Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

In a TB test, a small amount of tuberculin purified protein derivative is injected just under the skin. Health Department officials will return to Grayson on April 20 to read the results of the tests. Anyone who is absent for the reading must be retested, Goins said.

Parents and guardians must sign consent forms for students to be tested at the school.

Parents can choose to have students tested by a private physician, but the results of the test must be forwarded to the Health Department as soon as possible, Goins said.

This is the second suspected case of tuberculosis reported in a Gwinnett County public high school this year. A 12th-grader at Dacula High School was treated for a suspected case of the disease, and two students had a positive reaction to the mandatory TB test, indicating they had been exposed to the bacteria at some point in their lives.

Because tuberculosis is a slow-growing bacteria, the Health Department will return to Dacula High School before the end of the school year to perform follow-up tests, Goins said. The date of that test has not been scheduled.

The Health Department will also return to Grayson High School to perform follow-up tests eight to 10 weeks after the tests next week.

For more information about the testing, call the Health Department at 770-339-4260.