Most test negative for TB at Dacula

DACULA - Two Dacula High School students had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis test, indicating those students at some point have been exposed to the bacterial disease, public health officials said.

More than 200 Dacula High School students and staff members were identified earlier this month as needing to be tested after public health officials said a 12th-grader had a suspected case of the disease. Those who were in closest and continuous contact with the student were selected for testing.

The eight staff members and 128 students who showed negative reactions Friday will be retested in eight to 10 weeks, Gwinnett County Health Department spokesman Vernon Goins said.

The two students who tested positive may not have an active infection, but they must undergo a chest X-ray.

"If 100 people were tested at random, it's likely we'd get one or two positive results," Goins said. "It doesn't mean they are infected."

Tuberculosis, or TB, is spread through the air when a person with an active case coughs or sneezes. Any student who tests positive for tuberculosis must have three clear sputum tests - in which a person coughs deeply to expel material from the lungs - before returning to school.

The student who had a suspected case of the bacterial disease has had three clear sputum tests and has been cleared to return to school, Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

The 67 students who did not receive the tuberculin purified protein derivative test this week at the school must either be tested by a private physician or visit the health department for testing.

Parents and guardians have been told the health department is offering the test for free until Wednesday for the students who were originally identified as needing the test. If a private physician performs the test, the results must be sent to the health department.

Goins said 22 students tested this week did not have their results read Friday and may have to be retested.