Meadowcreek student may have TB

NORCROSS - About 200 students and staff members at Meadowcreek High School who were in closest and continuous contact with an 11th-grader with a suspected case of tuberculosis will be tested for the airborne disease, school officials said.

Meadowcreek principal Bob Jackson sent letters Friday to parents of students who need to be tested. Officials from the Gwinnett County Health Department will visit the school Wednesday to administer skin tests to the selected students and staff members, said Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

The skin test involves injecting a small amount of tuberculin purified protein derivative just under the skin. County health officials will return to the school Friday to evaluate those tested, Roach said. Anyone tested Wednesday who is absent Friday must be retested.

"The Gwinnett County Health Department has told us that there are two very important things to keep in mind about tuberculosis," Jackson wrote in a letter posted on the school's Web site. "First, tuberculosis is a disease that is hard to spread to others. Close and continuous contact over hours is necessary (to) transmit (give) the disease to another person. Second, even if a person is infected with (given) the TB germ, they cannot give it to another person without being ill with the disease themselves. This does not happen right away and may take years. Only one out of 10 people who come in contact with TB ever get the disease."

The high school junior with the suspected case of TB is under medical care, Roach said.