Fresno County health officials said four Bullard High School students, who were among more than 100 screened for tuberculosis earlier this month, have tested positive for the disease.
The health department ordered testing of 182 students on Oct. 11 who were possibly exposed to a student who had been diagnosed on Sept. 29 with active TB that can be spread through coughing.
The four students who had positive tests have returned to classes. They were examined and did not show symptoms of tuberculosis, said Dr. Ken Bird, health officer for Fresno County.
“That’s a good indication they do not have the disease,” he said.
But each still needs a chest X-ray to be read to further rule out TB. A doctor at the health department’s chest clinic will review the X-rays, Bird said.
So far, 112 Bullard students have been tested for TB. The health department is still waiting for 70 students to be tested or to turn over test results from private doctors. The health department is working with Fresno Unified School District to contact the students and their families.
About a dozen staff members at the high school were tested. None had positive results, Bird said.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria spread through the air when a person coughs, sneezes or talks. People who have been exposed to TB germs may have no symptoms, and some won’t spread the bacteria to others. However, in 5 to 10 percent of people, the disease progresses and can be a serious, life-threatening illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms of tuberculosis include:
▪ A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer.
▪ Pain in the chest.
▪ Coughing up blood or sputum (mucus from deep inside the lungs).
Other symptoms may be:
▪ Weakness or fatigue.
▪ Weight loss.
▪ No appetite.
▪ Sweating at night.