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Concerns remain after 2 Andrew Jackson HS students test positive for Tuberculosis

7:46 PM, Nov 8, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tuberculosis concerns remain at Andrew Jackson High School after two students fall ill.

Those two students are at home and are OK, according to health officials.

The Florida Department of Health in Duval County's Director, Dr. Kelli Wells told reporters that the department first became aware of a student's positive test for tuberculosis on Tuesday after being notified by the hospital where the student was hospitalized.

The department saw a second Andrew Jackson student Wednesday as part of its own investigation. That second student also tested positive for TB. Health officials said 100 students and six school staff were being blood tested.

"Because the way we determine who needs to be tested has to do with who shared space," Wells said. "The investigation involves what classes were you in? That sort of thing."

"I was coming to get tested for TB to make sure that I was clear," Andrew Jackson High school student, Markel Blue told FCN.

Blue said he wasn't exposed, but his thoughts were with classmates.

"To me, I'm a little scared," he said. "Because I don't want to catch it."

Blue said he's just fine. His test comes the day after letters were sent home to parents Thursday.

"It's a lot of people that didn't even come to school," Blue said. "Like, yesterday, our whole teacher staff really didn't come. We had substitutes."

School district spokeswoman Marsha Oliver told FCN there were more students in school Friday than on Thursday and it was business as usual and they're adhering to all health department procedures.

On Your Side, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said TB is caused by bacteria spread through the air from person to person.

Wells said with TB, it's hard to pinpoint when you become infected or who you came into contact with that caused it.

Wells said the situation prompted some parents to ask 'Is it safe to send your child to school?'

"The answer to that is absolutely yes," Wells emphasized.

Students and staff at the school were tested Friday. Wells said the group would be tested through the early part of next week.

If you want to be screened, ask your doctor, or go to the health department.

First for You:

-Some of the symptoms of TB disease include lingering cough for 3 weeks or longer, fever and weight loss.

-According to the CDC, if not treated properly, TB can be fatal.

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