Scores of people showed up at a Fairfax County high school Friday to be tested for tuberculosis. But the county health department turned away some of them because they were not on a “priority” list of 430 people.
The county’s Director of Health, Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, told reporters those invited to the school for TB testing had to have been in close proximity to three people at Robert E. Lee High School who have tested positive for active tuberculosis.
The school’s interior architecture played a part in developing the list of who needs the testing. The health director said testing would be recommended for those working with an infected person in a “small room versus an open area. We also looked at things like what is the ventilation situation in that setting.”
The family of student Karla Gomez said their daughter was on the priority list for testing (and for questioning about the symptoms of tuberculosis). What did the health officers ask?
“If I had any symptoms like loss of appetite, or my weight loss or coughing or sweats, like fever,” explained Gomez, who replied that she had no such symptoms.
The rising sophomore said she is still worried about the results of the TB test.
As we reported Thursday, one of the three cases at Lee High School turned up in December. A lot of people have wondered why wasn’t there testing then. Health authorities told us Friday there was testing, then – about 20 people were tested.
Those not on the priority list were turned away Friday from TB testing, although they were told they could get tested for free at Fairfax County health clinics.
Those tested for TB Friday will get results on Monday or Tuesday (depending on what time they were tested). Not all positive tests “are” tuberculosis. So, those testing positive will likely get further tests, including chest x-rays.
Health officials also threw out this tidbit: one of the three people here at Lee High School (with active tuberculosis) did not get the disease here. For medical privacy reasons, reporters were not given details about that conclusion.
In the two other cases, health authorities are still unsure where the cases were contracted.