More than 440 students and staff were recently given tuberculosis skin tests at Whitefish Bay Middle School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, after a seventh grader was confirmed to have contracted the respiratory illness.
School and area health department officials offered the free test to all students and staff at the school as a precautionary measure. Those with compromised immune systems, the ill student’s friends and those who shared their lunch period with the student were encouraged to take the test, according to JSOnline.com.
According to Jamie Berg, a health officer for the Sherwood/Whitefish Bay Health Department, the skin tests are not conclusive, so those with possible infections will be advised to receive a more accurate blood test.
A follow-up series of TB skin tests will be offered at the school in August, because it usually takes eight to 10 weeks for an infected person’s immune system to generate an evident response, JSOnline.com reports.
TB is spread by breathing in air droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person. Active TB symptoms include a cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss and a bloody cough. Those with inactive TB can have the disease for years without symptoms or the ability to spread the infection. Anyone with inactive TB will test positive for TB, according to the National Institutes of Health.