No active TB cases at MHS after 260 tested
by Hilary Butschek
June 06, 2014 04:00 AM | 1906 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta City Schools Superintendent Emily Lembeck
Marietta City Schools Superintendent Emily Lembeck
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MARIETTA — After one round of testing, five Marietta High School members tested positive for the tuberculosis infection, but none of them have the active disease.

“It’s a relief that none of the people have been tested positive for TB,” said Emily Lembeck, superintendent of Marietta City Schools.

On Thursday, Cobb & Douglas Public Health released information about the results of TB tests the school said were required for 500 students and faculty before returning to school for summer activities or the beginning of the school year.

More than a week after the mandatory tests were announced, the public health office said it has tested 260 people, but more people could have been tested by a private doctor, said Valerie Crow, the communications director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health.

The skin test, which Crow said five people tested positive for, shows a person was infected with TB bacteria. This could be caused by coming in close contact with a person who has the active TB disease or from getting a TB vaccination, because a small amount of the bacteria is in your blood.

“I’m not really sure how these people were exposed,” Crow said.

Those five people who were infected with the TB bacteria were then given a chest X-ray to see if there was any active disease in their lungs, Crow said, and all five tested negative on the chest X-ray.

“At the present, we have no sign of any other active disease,” Crow said.

The five will be offered preventative medication for TB from the public health office just to be safe.

Lembeck said she urges those who have not been tested to get a skin test soon. Those people named on the school’s list of 500 required to be tested can still be tested for free

Monday at the Cobb & Douglas Public Health office on County Services Parkway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Randy Weiner, the chairman of the Marietta school board, was pleased when the MDJ told him the results, and said he still had not heard any complaints or feedback from parents about the situation.

“That’s good news,” Weiner said. “I’m glad to hear that nobody has the active tuberculosis. I’m pleased everyone is healthy.”

Parents haven’t been told about the results yet, but several said they would like to hear from the school. Lembeck said nothing will be sent home to parents because the health department has all of the information right now.

Parents’ reactions to the situation have varied from worried to understanding.

“I think the whole thing is a little disconcerting,” said Lainie Adams, who has a daughter at the high school who was not required to be tested.

Shannon Kiklica, the mother of a rising junior who did have to be tested, said the TB case did not scare her, but it was “definitely a relief” to hear about the negative results.

“I don’t have any children that have any kind of immune deficiency or anything, so it didn’t scare me,” Kiklica said. “I think it could have happened anywhere. I don’t know what else there could have been done.”

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