UPDATE: Tuberculosis Case Reported at William Fleming High Schoo - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

UPDATE: Tuberculosis Case Reported at William Fleming High School

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Update 11/26/13

On Tuesday, the Roanoke City Health department announced it will work with Roanoke City schools to conduct on-site testing at William Fleming next week.

The time and details about the tests are still being discussed.

Also the health department has opened a Tuberculosis information line, to answer questions and concerns from parents and the community. The number is 540-759-4652.


At a community meeting Monday night, parents are left with question and concerns after finding out tuberculosis has hit William Fleming High School.

Some are so fearful they sat in the meeting with medical masks covering their faces.

Margarita Martinez and Calvin Edmonds only took the masks off for an interview

"I was a little upset because I just find whenever there's something going on, we find out after the fact," Martinez said.

The health department notified the school system Friday when one student tested positive.

Two parents told us that finding out three days later isn't acceptable. Now they're worried for their teenage daughters, especially since it could take up to 10 weeks to identify those who are at risk.

"I kind of think that they are sugar-coating it," Martinez said. "I mean, it's tuberculosis."

School Superintendent Dr. Rita Bishop says parents shouldn't be alarmed.

She says years ago, her son Gordon tested positive for tuberculosis at the age of two. She says he was successfully treated without spreading the disease.

"We want to stress to you that despite the British novels," Bishop said, "tuberculosis is not highly contagious."

According to the CDC, tuberculosis can only be spread by someone who is actively sick from the disease.

Often it takes several weeks after exposure for symptoms to appear.

The disease travels by air and is spread when the person sick coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

The site also says tuberculosis is treatable. In fact, treatment is available for those with a positive skin test, even before they become ill. Bishop stressed that just because a student tests positive for tuberculosis doesn't mean that they will become ill. It only means that you have tuberculosis germs inside your body.

Signs and symptoms of active TB are loss of weight, coughing for more than three weeks, especially coughing up mucus or blood, feeling weak, sweating at night, loss of appetite, chest pain, and fever for more than a week.

The school will be conducting TB tests for anyone who is at risk of being infected. Those students and teachers will be identified during the Health Department's investigation.

Eventually, all of those people who wish to be tested will be, free of charge. 

So for the next 10 weeks, all parents can do is encourage their children to wash their hands often, and keep on the lookout for flu-like symptoms while the investigation unfolds.

The school has sent a letter to parents. LETTER TO PARENTS


More on Tuberculosis from the CDC