Denton High School TB Chest X-Ray Update

Denton County Health Department &
Denton Independent School District
Public Health Contact: Sarah McKinney, (940) 349-2918, cell: (940) 465-4939
Denton ISD Contact: Sharon Cox, (940) 369-0006
For release on Oct. 20, 2011
Denton High School TB Chest X-Ray Update
The Denton County Health Department has received the results of the chest X-rays of the
Denton High School students and staff, and all show no sign of active tuberculosis (TB). This
means there are no new suspect TB cases, and no indication of a school-based outbreak of TB.
On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Denton County Health Department administered TB skin tests
to approximately 270 Denton High School students and staff at the school. Health Department
staff returned Thursday, Oct. 13, to read the tests.
As anticipated, an extremely small number of positive reactors (less than 5 percent) were
identified from the readings. On average, a 7 percent positive reaction would be expected with
TB skin testing. Because of the minimal number of positive reactors and to protect the privacy of
the individuals, the exact results were not released. Additionally, health officials noted that
several close contacts of the initial suspect TB case had negative skin test results.
A positive reaction to a TB skin test only shows that the individual has been exposed to
TB at some point, but does not indicate whether or not the individual has active TB. Individuals
with a positive reaction were referred to the next step in the testing process, which was the chest
X-ray. In addition, preventive medications will be offered for those with positive reactions to the
skin test.
Those with a negative reaction will be re-tested in 8 to 10 weeks in order to confirm the
negative result. This will be done as a precautionary measure, following standard procedure.
Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne disease that affects the lungs, and can also affect other
parts of the body. The symptoms of TB include a persistent cough, chest pain, feeling weak,
weight loss, fever, and night sweats. TB is spread through repeated and prolonged exposure to an
infected person.
There are two types of TB: those with latent TB infection (LTBI) have been exposed to
the germs that cause TB, but do not get sick or show symptoms. Individuals with LTBI are not
contagious, because the germs are not active. However, those who get sick with TB disease have
active TB germs, typically experience symptoms of the disease, and are considered contagious.
Both types of TB are treated with medication and the outcome is almost always very favorable.
Only those with close and prolonged exposure (6 hours or greater) to an individual with
active TB are considered at risk for TB. Skin testing is not recommended for people without
known exposure to TB; in this instance, if the person does not have close contact with the
suspect case.
Additional information on TB can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention at For updated local information, please visit or