SUGAR LAND, Texas -- Fort Bend ISD officials say they are working with Fort Bend County Health and Human Services after a suspected case of tuberculosis at Clements High School.
A small group of students and staff will require testing at the school, officials say.
There are tuberculosis concerns at another Houston-are school as well. The State Health Department will be at El Campo High School testing students for TB after one student may have contracted the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal."
"The most common form of tuberculosis is pulminary. It's chronic cough, chronic productive cough, fever," said Dr. Herbert Dupont with UT Health.
He says TB doesn't spread as quickly as other illnesses, like the flu and you would likely have to come within six feet of a patient to be infected.
"Tuberculosis is what I call a moderately contagious infection, it's not like pandemic flu, it's not like measles," Dr. Dupont said.
Treatment can be complicated and usually involves a heavy dose of antibiotics.
In Fort Bend, a letter sent home to Clements HS parents did not indicate if the person affected was an employee or a student:
Dear Clements High School Parents/Guardians,
Fort Bend Clinical Health Services has notified Clements High School about a suspected case of tuberculosis (TB). Tuberculosis is a bacterial illness acquired through breathing in infected droplets from the cough or sneeze of a person with active TB. Tuberculosis is not easily transmitted. It is spread when a person inhales airborne germs over a long period of time in a confined area from someone with the disease who coughs or sneezes.
Confidentiality laws prohibit us from releasing the individual’s name. However, I can assure you the school is working actively with Fort Bend County Health & Human Services and taking all necessary steps in order to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff.
Because significant exposure to TB is required in order to develop an infection, and based on the level of interaction with the individual, the health department has identified a small group of students and staff who will require testing. They have received separate notification from the school and the health department.
If you have not been contacted, there is no reason for your child to be tested at this time. However, if you would like, you may have your child tested by your private provider.
We understand that you may have questions. You can find a TB general information sheet here. lf you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Fort Bend County Clinical Health Services at 281-342- 6414.
As always, we appreciate your continued support.