Tuberculosis screening: Results: 50 exposed to infection

LILBURN -- Public health officials said 50 students and faculty members at Lilburn Middle School tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis after a screening.

The positive results of the skin test do not necessarily mean the individuals have TB, just that they have been exposed to the disease at some point in their life, said Suleima Salgado, a spokeswoman for the East Metro Health District, which includes Gwinnett County. Everyone who tested positive has been referred for a follow-up chest X-ray, she said.

Tuberculosis is an infectious, bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs. It is spread through the air when people who are infected sneeze, cough or spit.

The testing was performed by the East Metro Health District last week after two cases of the disease were reported among sixth-graders. Principal Gene Taylor sent a letter encouraging parents to allow their children to be tested.

The first TB case was discovered in February, and after the second case was discovered this month, the health department decided to expand testing to the entire sixth grade, as well as all faculty members.

Nearly 360 students and faculty were tested Friday, and the results were read on Monday, Salgado said.

She said 97 people still need to be tested for exposure. Health officials are working to contact parents to get permission to administer the mandatory screening.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.