Jackson High School students tested for tuberculosis

2 students recovering from disease


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 100 students at Andrew Jackson High School are being tested for tuberculosis after two students were found to have active cases.

One of those students was hospitalized last weekend, but both are now at home and expected to recover.

Those who have been in close contact with the two students have already been notified. School officials sent home notices Thursday, and testing began Friday.

Markel Blue was with his mom at the Florida Department of Health in Duval County on Friday to be tested, even though he was not one of the 100 students exposed. He said he doesn't want to take a chance.

"For me, I'm a little scared because I don't want to catch it," Blue said. "I don't want anyone else to get hurt."

TB is a respiratory disease and is treatable. Health officials said they got word Saturday that a student was in the hospital and confirmed Tuesday it was TB. At that time, they learned of a second case from the school, and health investigators went to work finding out who else might have been exposed.

"They are at the same school. One of the other things that is important to us is protecting the confidentially and identity of those who have active disease, but those who are identified for testing," said Dr. Kelli Wells, director of the Duval County Health Department.

While there are nearly 700 students at Jackson, only 100 will be tested because they shared the same space and breathed the same air for at least 20 minutes.

TB affects the lungs. Some of the symptoms are weakness, fever, night sweats and coughing. While health officials are doing more extensive tests on those students possibly exposed, they will be drawing blood.

Click to view frequently asked questions about tuberculosis, and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information.

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