Two Cases of Active TB ‘Suspected’ in Houston Area High Schools

Two “suspected” cases of active tuberculosis (TB) were reported in Houston area high schools in February. More than a month later, public health officials are not disclosing whether those “suspected” cases have been confirmed as active TB.

Parents at Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston, learned of “a suspected case of tuberculosis” on February 9. “Parents of students at El Campo High School were also informed of a student with a possible case of the illness,” KPRC Click2Houston.com reported in February.

School officials have not responded to requests for the current status of those two “suspected” cases of TB. Breitbart News has asked officials at both schools if the two individuals suspected of having TB were removed from school campuses and have remained away but has received no response.

“This individual is undergoing treatment and is not contagious,” a spokesperson for the Fort Bend County Department of Health and Human Services tells Breitbart News about the individual who was “a suspected case of tuberculosis” at Clements High School in Sugar Land.

“I’m not allowed to say what kind of treatment they are getting,” the spokesperson adds.

“I cannot tell you what they were diagnosed with,” the spokesperson says when pressed further by Breitbart News.

Public health and school officials were sufficiently concerned about the “suspected” cases of TB at both schools that they asked a number of students and staff members to be tested for the disease.

School officials have not responded to requests for the current status of those two “suspected” cases of TB. Breitbart News has asked officials at both schools if the two individuals suspected of having TB were removed from school campuses and have remained away but has received no response.

El Campo is a city of about 11,000 in Wharton County, located forty miles southwest of Sugar Land.

News of the two cases of TB at Houston area high schools comes on the heels of other recent disturbing reports of TB at high schools in Nebraska, Minnesota, and California, as well as a middle school in South Carolina.

“We have met with the Texas Department of State Health Services pertaining to a suspected case of TB,” El Campo High School principal Rich DuBroc said in a statement posted on the school’s website on February 7:

TB is a disease spread through prolonged, close exposure to someone who has the germ in his/her lungs. Exposure is most likely to occur when a person with TB is actively coughing. TB can usually be prevented and treated effectively with appropriate medications. As part of their ongoing investigation, DSHS will conduct a screening on Thursday, February 9, and Friday, February 10, for those individuals at El Campo High School who have been identified as having close exposure. Further information and consent forms will be shared tomorrow.

“Fort Bend Clinical Health Services has notified Clements High School about a suspected case of tuberculosis (TB),” Clements High School principal David Yaffie wrote in a letter sent to parents on February 9:

Tuberculosis is a bacterial illness acquired through breathing in infected droplets from the cough or sneeze of a person with active TB. Tuberculosis is not easily transmitted. It is spread when a person inhales airborne germs over a long period of time in a confined area from someone with the disease who coughs or sneezes.

Confidentiality laws prohibit us from releasing the individual’s name. However, I can assure you the school is working actively with Fort Bend County Health & Human Services and taking all necessary steps in order to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff.

Because significant exposure to TB is required in order to develop an infection, and based on the level of interaction with the individual, the health department has identified a small group of students and staff who will require testing. They have received separate notification from the school and the health department.

If you have not been contacted, there is no reason for your child to be tested at this time. However, if you would like, you may have your child tested by your private provider.

“The results came back negative for the adults and students who were tested,” the spokesperson for the Fort Bend County Department of Health and Human Services tells Breitbart News about the results of these tests at Clements High School.

Breitbart News posed the following questions about the case to Mr. Yaffie but has not received a response:

1. Has the Fort Bend Public Health Department advised whether this individual suspected of having TB was subsequently diagnosed with TB?

2. Was this individual a student, a teacher, or another staff member?

3. Was this individual an American citizen?

4. Was this individual a refugee or of other foreign-born immigrant status?

5. Was this individual removed from the school and are they still removed from the school?

6. How many students at Clements High are currently enrolled in English Language Learner programs?

Clements High School is part of the Fort Bend Independent School District.

El Campo High School is part of the much smaller El Campo Independent School District.

Breitbart News contacted El Campo Independent School District Superintendent of Schools Mary Waters for comment but has not received a response.

On February 22, El Campo High School principal Dubroc sent this follow-up email:

I am sending this to all e-mail addresses in the ECHS system, but it applies only to those who tested for Tuberculosis with us at ECHS.

Earlier this month DSHS conducted Round 1 Tuberculosis testing due to a suspect case at El Campo High School. To ensure notification of results is sent to the correct address, please complete the attached address authorization consent form.

A follow-up test – Round 2 Tuberculosis testing – will be offered the week of April 10, 2017. A negative follow-up test at that time would indicate that your child has not been infected with the germ that causes Tuberculosis.

Clements High School, as part of the Fort Bend Independent School District, offers “ESL (English as a Second Language) for parents” free of charge.

“FBISD’s family literacy program helps families build the foundation for life long learning,” according to the Fort Bend Independent School District website:

The comprehensive program includes:

ESL (English as a Second Language) for parents
Homework assistance, tutoring, or early childhood education, while parents attend class
Parent education classes: GED, citizenship, computer literacy
Literacy-based activities for parents and children
Latino Family Literacy Project
All services are FREE!

As Breitbart News has reported extensively, 66 percent of all cases of active TB diagnosed in the United States in 2015 were foreign-born.


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