HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – Close to 200 Henrico County students may have been exposed to tuberculosis during this school year, the Henrico Health Department informed parents in a letter Monday.
Henrico County Schools spokesman Andy Jenks confirmed that 189 Douglas Freeman High School students may have been exposed in class or on the bus.
In a letter to parents, the health department encourages parents and their student to complete a TB screening at the school on Monday, May 1. Not all Freeman students have to undergo TB testing, just those who came in close contact with a TB case.
“Please check with the School Nurse on Thursday or Friday this week to find out your assigned time,” the letter read.
Jenks said the school system sent an email to the entire Freeman community informing them about what happened, but one Freeman parent says she hasn't received the email yet.
“As a parent I pretty much flipped,” said Cindy Stanley, when she learned of the news. "When you hear it, it's like, oh my word, my child could have it."
According to state health officials, tuberculosis can be passed from person to person when when the infected person coughs or sneezes. People nearby breathing in the bacteria can become infected.
People with compromised immune systems, especially those with HIV infection, are more likely to develop the disease if exposed.
The health department says there is currently no known risk of TB to the Freeman community, but parents like Stanley want furthre assurance.
"Once I hear it from the school, 'oh no he hasn't been exposed' I'll be fine," she said.
“The Henrico Health Department will be holding a TB informational meeting for the entire DSF community on Wednesday, April 26 at 6:00 PM in the DSF gymnasium,” the letter read. “There will be additional informational meetings for students, faculty and staff on Thursday, April 27 during the lunch hour.”
Here is some additional information about TB screening and the testing process from the Henrico Health Department:
- The Henrico Health Department will conduct all screening and testing and the delivery of test results at DSF.
- Please bring the attached Contact Registration form. Please fill out the Client Section on the top of the form and have a parent or guardian sign if the person being screened is under 18 years old.
- Screening and testing will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
- You will receive a brief interview about possible TB symptoms and your overall health status.
- You will be offered a TB skin test or blood test. If you get the skin test, you will need to have it read on Wednesday (May 3). We will know the blood test results by May 4 at the latest.
- If the skin test or blood test is positive, you will be sent for a chest x-ray.
- Based on the results of the chest-ray, certain antibiotics will be recommended.
- If the skin test or blood test is negative, you may need to have a second test during the summer. More information will be given to you closer to that time.
- There is no charge to you for the TB skin test, blood test, or chest x-ray if they are done through the
- Henrico Health Department, but please bring a front and back copy of your health insurance card to the screening. If you have health insurance and choose to have the blood test done, your insurance may be billed for the cost. However, if you have a high deductible or if your insurance does not cover the test for any reason, you will not have to pay.
Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.