Healthy Choices

TB screening available Friday at Grant Union High

Responding to parents’ calls for expanded TB screening at Grant Union High School after one student had active tuberculosis this year, the county’s health department will offer a final TB test on Friday.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., anyone who has not been tested can get screened for TB at the high school, with results available three days later.

So far, Sacramento County’s Health and Human Services Department tested more than 400 students and school staff for exposure to the disease. Of those screened earlier, 120 students and staff tested positive for TB exposure and are receiving preventive treatment, county health officials said.

In addition, two suspected cases of lymphadenitis, or inflammation of the lymph nodes, surfaced. Though symptomatic of TB, lymph node inflammation is not infectious.

Originally, Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County public health officer, sent notices for testing to students who were identified as at high risk for exposure because they shared classrooms and an air circulation system with the student who had active tuberculosis. Kasirye said it is extremely important for the original 400 or so to follow up on getting tested, even if they’ve graduated.

Since then, parents meeting with Kasirye requested that all of the school’s students be offered the opportunity to be tested.

All who tested positive for TB were offered treatment from the Health and Human Services Department. The department is embracing a new regimen of one dose of antibiotics a week for 12 weeks – as opposed to daily medication taken for nine months. The medication must be taken in front of public health officials, who are required to ensure that preventive treatment is completed, in order to prevent future cases of active, infectious TB.

People diagnosed with latent TB are not contagious and don’t show symptoms. But they must still finish medications in order to prevent TB from progressing into an active disease. Only those with active TB may be contagious and exhibit symptoms such as cough and fever.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee