14 at Grayson positive for TB

LOGANVILLE - Fourteen Grayson High School students have tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis, county health officials said Friday.

Gwinnett County Health Department officials examined the results Friday of skin tests administered Tuesday at Grayson High to 189 students and six faculty members, said Vernon Goins, the Health Department's spokesman.

Earlier this month, officials notified 202 students and 11 faculty members of their need to take the test, because they were in closest and continuous proximity with a 10th-grader being treated for the bacterial disease.

The six students and five faculty members who did not receive the skin test Tuesday must be tested by the Health Department or have a private physician submit the results of an exam, Goins said. The eight students who were tested Tuesday but missed Friday's exam must either make arrangements to have health officials look at the results or be retested.

The 14 students who tested positive for exposure must now receive a chest X-ray, which will help determine if any have signs of a TB infection.

Because tuberculosis is a slow-growing bacteria, the Health Department will make arrangements to retest in about 60 days the students and faculty members who showed a negative reaction to the tuberculin purified protein derivative injection, Goins said.

This is the second report of a possible TB outbreak in a Gwinnett County high school this year. About 200 students at Dacula High School were tested in February for the disease, and the Health Department will return to the school during the first week in May to perform the second round of skin tests.

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that is spread through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. The disease is most often found in institutions such as hospitals, schools and prisons and in densely populated areas, Goins said.

The number of reportable TB cases is at an all-time low, Goins said. Gwinnett, one of Georgia's most populous counties, ranks third in the state for the number of cases reported each year, he said.