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Benson High tuberculosis testing

Posted at 5:25 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 18:25:36-05

Benson High School is conducting tuberculosis testing on students and staff this week after learning a student had the bacterial infection.

It’s a contagious disease so health officials are trying to keep it from spreading.

The Douglas County Health Department says this is not a big concern for the school because tuberculosis is not easily spread.

They say they are testing those students and staff who took classes with the individual just to be on the safe side.

"Only those students and only those classrooms will be tested it is not best practice to test all of students," said Dr. Idi Pour.

Benson High School is made up of about 14 hundred students.

In this case the Douglas County Health Department says it's only necessary to test the 193 students and 12 staff members who may have been in close contact with the infected person.

"It is not easy to contract tuberculosis you have to be in very close, extended contact with someone who is actively sick, which is sort of a rare thing," said Dr. Caitlin Pedati.

The health department says this is not a major issue just based on how the disease works.

"TB takes a prolong exposure, not just walking by each other, eating lunch in the cafeteria” Dr. Pour said.

“That is not enough for an exposure," Dr. Pour continued.

Testing will be done at school. The identified students and staff will have about three millimeters of blood drawn and sent off for testing.

The  results take a few days to a week to come back.

"I have staff here specifically assigned to those students to make sure they aren't going to get too nervous about it," Dr. Pour said.

Health officials stress that the free blood test is being done just as a safety precaution.

"This is not something to be concerned about it really goes very smooth," Dr. Pour said.

The Douglas County Health Department says if anyone test positive for tuberculosis they will be contacted directly and set up with a healthcare provider.