Hundreds of Butler High students to be tested for tuberculosis - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Hundreds of Butler High students to be tested for tuberculosis

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

FOX54 has learned new details about the tuberculosis scare at Butler High School.

Beginning on Monday, all students at the school will have the opportunity to get tested for the disease.

Officials are looking to test as many as 600 more students, after some tested positive for exposure to TB.

The scared started after a student at the school began showing signs of TB a few weeks ago. Follow up tests will be held at the health department.

Original Story:

Health officials are telling hundreds of students at Butler High that they need to be tested for tuberculosis after a student at the school began showing the symptoms of TB.

"It is bad but it isn't as bad as it could be," said Public Relations Coordinator for the East Central Health District, Emmitt Walker.

Health officials want parents to know they're taking the threat of tuberculosis at the school seriously, but they don't want anyone to panic.

"Everybody needs to relax and figure out what exactly has happened here. If we don't have anyone with active tuberculosis the risk to the rest of the people in the school is virtually zero," said Expert on Pediatric Diseases at Georgia Health Sciences Dr. Jim Wilde.

A student at Butler is being tested after she started showing symptoms of TB last week. 

In its early stages, people infected with tuberculosis have a chronic cough. In more advanced stages, symptoms can include coughing up blood and can even be deadly.

TB is contagious and the bacteria is spread through the air, usually by coughing.

Dr. Wilde said it's unlikely any of the students at the school are actively infected with the bacteria, "Only 5% of people who are exposed to tuberculosis and inhale the bacterium become actively infected."

School officials say students at Butler High will be tested for TB Monday, results from the skin test will be available 48 hours later.

They aren't taking any chances when it comes to the health of the 200 students and 10 teachers who have had direct contact with the student suspect for TB.

Walker tells Fox54 it will be another 4 to 5 weeks until we know the test results for the student suspect for TB.

As for the students who may have had indirect exposure to student who is being tested for TB, health officials say they don't have cause for concern.

Health officials say students would only be exposed to the bacteria through direct contact with the student suspect for TB over a significant period of time; if you do have concerns, contact the health department.

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