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Fairfax's High School Testing 430 Students for Tuberculosis After 3 Cases Emerge

Update Date: Jun 22, 2013 02:43 AM EDT
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Fairfax County's Lee High School summoned 430 of its students to be tested for tuberculosis after three cases of contagious disease were reported at the school.

According to the county health department, two cases are recent and one was identified in December.

"I've been very nervous. I was like, um, who might've had, and I might be contagious or something,"  said James Zurita, a student who received a letter as he arrived at the school.

The school population make up for a total of 1,900 families, but 430 students were sent letters asking them to come in to be tested.

"I wasn't nervous because I don't have any symptoms," said  Danielle Klinkert, one of the students who received a letter and was tested today. Her mother, Dawn Klinkert, said they were told they'd receive the results on Monday.

The testing sessions will carry on through the beginning of next week.

According to WUSA9, some parents brought their children to be tested even though they didn't receive a letter. They were turned away. Parents also questioned why they hadn't heard about the December TB case or any testing then.  

Fairfax County Health Director Gloria Addo-Ayensu said that 20 students were tested after the December case.

"The reason we didn't test more people then, and why we're only testing 430 people now is because TB is not highly contagious," she said.

"This is not a disease you can catch in passing," Addo-Ayensu argued. Even if someone coughs on you once or twice, that's probably not enough to catch the illness, she said.

She explained, catching TB requires close proximity for a lengthy period of time.

"We've learned one of the three people who had active TB did not catch it at Lee High School. We're still investigating where the two other cases came from."

According to Addo-Ayensu, the three people who had active TB are not allowed back in school until they are restored back to healthy.

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