Local middle school student diagnosed with TB, could have infected others

A student at Fannin Middle School tested positive for active tuberculosis. AISD and the health department are now conducting an investigation to identify possible recipients of the airborne disease.

A contact investigation is being conducted at Fannin Middle School after a student positively tested for active tuberculosis (TB). The health department is conducting the investigation of classmates and teachers who have possibly been exposed.

Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) and the health department are sending permission letters to parents of potentially exposed children asking for consent to give a TB skin test. These tests will be given next week.

"TB exposures are most likely with children or teachers spending five or more hours per week with the infected student," said Dr. Matt Richardson, director of Public Health for the City of Amarillo. "Because of that risk, we're asking parents to allow us to test their kids and follow up if necessary."

Once the test results are reviewed, anyone testing positive for TB will then be evaluated to determine if they have an active form of the disease. The health department will coordinate further testing and treatment at no cost to the families of contacts.

"TB is a potentially serious infection of contagious and infectious bacteria that is treatable with antibiotics," said Health Authority for Amarillo Bi-County Health District Dr. Roger Smalligan. "We are working closely with AISD to determine who needs to be tested and treated. The good news is that testing contacts will allows us to find any potential cases and limit the possible spread of the disease. We don't believe we have an outbreak situation in the school, but we are proactively investigating and screening any potential exposures."

Signs and symptoms of TB are: cough, fever, nigh sweats, weight loss.

Parents who receive the permission letter are encouraged to report any of the symptoms listed above to the health department. If parents or teachers have questions, they are encouraged to call the City of Amarillo Department of Public Health at (806) 378-6300 or attend a meeting for parents in the Fannin Middle School cafeteria on April 2 and 6 p.m.