Marietta High students, staff learn TB results
by Hilary Butschek
June 03, 2014 04:00 AM | 3435 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Close to 200 students and faculty members turned out to Marietta High School on Friday to be tested for tuberculosis after the school learned a student tested positive for the infection.

“From what I understand, the turnout has been good,” Superintendent Emily Lembeck said. “I’m glad we are partnering with the health department in order to assure that our students and our community are safe.”

There were 500 people, a mixture of faculty members and students, who were told by the school they were required to undergo testing after being exposed to the student. Those who were tested Friday were supposed know their test results Monday.

Cobb & Douglas Public Health, which conducted the tests for free, said the results would not be made public until this afternoon.

“Right now we don’t have any results,” said Pam Mashburn, the executive assistant to the health director. “It will be late tomorrow.”

The school sent a letter last Tuesday to faculty members and students notifying them they may have been exposed to TB bacteria.

There is another opportunity for students and faculty in the group of 500 people required to get the skin test for free to be tested at the high school on June 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Those on the list may also visit the Cobb & Douglas Public Health office on County Services Parkway off of Powder Springs Road at any time to get a free test.

Marietta Board of Education Chairman Randy Weiner said he hasn’t heard any complaints from parents.

“I think it’s all being handled very well by the Cobb Board of Health and through the school,” Weiner said. “I think (parents) are satisfied with the way the school is being handled.”

Board member Jill Mutimer said she has also observed that parents have been quiet.

“I haven’t heard from anyone — not one email after the letter or after the tests were given,” Mutimer said. “Hopefully, they trust us to handle the situation appropriately, and hopefully, they are satisfied with the way it was handled.”

One parent said she was still upset that she felt no one was taking the situation seriously enough.

“They just act like it’s no big deal at the school,” Donna Sellers, who has a 15-year-old son attending Marietta High School, said.

She said her son, John, has Cushing’s Disease, which causes him to have a weak immune system, and she is scared he may be at risk. She brought him to the school Friday to be tested, but found he was not on the list of students required to be tested, so she plans on taking him to get tested this week.

Marietta High School principal Leigh Colburn said the process of testing students and receiving results is not over yet.

“We will continue to work with the health department and through the screening process with any remaining students and their families,” Colburn said. “For some students and families, this may become a multi-step process.”

The skin test is a preliminary one that shows whether someone has been in contact with the TB bacteria. If it comes back positive, Valerie Crow, director of communications at Cobb & Douglas Public Health, said the person will need to get a chest X-ray to see if there is any active TB in their lungs. If the X-ray is negative, the person will be offered preventative medication; and if it is positive, he or she will be treated for the infection, Crow said.

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