LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – A tuberculosis scare at a high school now has every student and teacher getting tested.
Tests so far show a large number of positive results for tuberculosis. Longmont High School delivered the latest findings to parents on Wednesday. The testing started after one student at the school came down with the disease.
Only one student at Longmont High School has tested positive for active tuberculosis. The other positives have been for what the school says is “latent tuberculosis.” Those students aren’t showing signs of illness and they aren’t contagious, and they can be treated so it doesn’t develop into active TB over time.
The Colorado Department of Health and Environment is working out a plan to test all of the students and staff at the school.
There is very little further information available about the upcoming testing because the school district is referring the media to the county health department. Health officials say they are still finalizing details.
The lone active TB case was reported in December.
Initial tests were just on about a dozen staff and students, then that testing was expanded to another 140 people — 40 percent of whom tested positive for latent TB.
Because those tests showed what the principal calls a “larger than expected number” of latent TB cases, the testing will be expanded to all students, which a couple parents CBS4 spoke with say is a good idea.
“They’ve kept it pretty low-key, which I like because TB scares so many people,” parent Allyson Stauffer said. “It’s a frightening disease and so they’ve kept it very low-key, very calm; there have been no panics, and that’s a really good thing.”
The letter from the principal says health officials plan to test all students and staff over the next several weeks. The letter also emphasizes that latent TB can be treated with antibiotics.
About 5 percent of untreated latent TB cases become active within 2 years.
Health officials say that because latent TB isn’t contagious it is safe for students to attend school and school events as the testing moves forward.