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Tuberculosis Scare Resurfaces at Virginia School

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A "How to Stop Tuberculosis" chart at Fairfax County Health Department briefing on TB outbreak at Lee High School in Springfield. (Credit: Cameron Thompson/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

A “How to Stop Tuberculosis” chart at Fairfax County Health Department briefing on TB outbreak at Lee High School in Springfield. (Credit: Cameron Thompson/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A tuberculosis scare that began in a Fairfax County Public School in June has resurfaced.

The Fairfax County Health Department is expanding the investigation that began at Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield last month after three individuals in the school were diagnosed with the disease. At that time, the school system and health department sent letters to more than 400 families they wanted to test for the disease.

Now, they are recommending screening and testing for all Lee High School students, faculty and support staff. They sent approximately 1,900 letters on July 19 to inform the school community of the risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria that usually attacks the lungs, but it can also attack the kidney, spine, and brain. It can can be fatal if not treated correctly and was at one time the leading cause of death in the U.S.

According to a news release, “the Health Department—out of an abundance of caution—concluded that the expansion is prudent based on multiple factors that included a higher-than-expected skin test positivity rate among those who have been tested so far.”

The Health Department recommends that those who received the most recent letter plan to attend one of the special testing clinics that will be held at Lee High School on the dates listed below. The test is a two-step process, so it is important that when selecting a test date, the individual is also able to return to get their results on the corresponding date.

Skin Test Schedule

  • Saturday, August 3, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Return for Results: Monday, August 5, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 3, 12 – 6 p.m. – Return for Results: Tuesday, August 6, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Monday, August 5, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Return for Results: Wednesday, August 7, 12 – 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 6, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Return for Skin Test: Thursday, August 8, 12 – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 10, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Return for Results: Monday, August 12, 12 – 4 p.m.

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