Dallas County health officials return to Irving ISD to test students for TB

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 4:22 PM

Irving MacArthur High School

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Dallas County health officials have scheduled a community meeting at Irving MacArthur High School to recommend tuberculosis testing for 80 students.

This is the second such meeting in the Irving Independent School District since Sept. 18, when the county’s Health and Human Services Department was called to test between 75 and 100 students at Nimitz High School. 

The community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday night at the cafeteria of Irving MacArthur, said Lesley Weaver, a district spokeswoman. 

A student there is currently being treated for tuberculosis. Weaver said the district is not releasing any identifying details to protect the student’s anonymity. 

At Nimitz, five of the students tested had positive skin tests, which indicates exposure to tuberculosis. Doctors took blood work from them, but all those results came back negative, she said. 

“That only means positive to exposure, but then when they went for further testing, it was all negative, meaning they did not have TB,” she said. 

Other than being in the same city limits and school district, Weaver said the Nimitz and MacArthur cases are not related. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tuberculosis is an airborne disease that typically attacks the lungs, causing chest pain, a bad cough, weigh loss, a lack of apetite and chills or fever. Without proper treatment, it can be fatal. Tuberculosis is usually transmitted by coughs or sneezes by someone with the disease.

To test for it, doctors will first test the skin. If that comes up positive, they'll take blood to further analyze it. As was the case with the five Nimitiz students, it is possible to test positive on the skin test but not have tuberculosis.  

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