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Health Department to test all Butler students after initial results were skewed

Health officials plan to screen all students

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 2:20 PM
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 1:41 AM
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Officials are expanding tuberculosis testing to all students at Butler High School after people who should not have been included in the initial trial group Oct. 22 received a test and skewed the
results.

After a doctor recognized tuberculosis symptoms in a Butler student in October, Richmond County Health Department officials asked only teachers and students who had direct contact with the patient to take a skin test.

When more people outside that direct circle went forward for a test, perhaps out of an overreaction to the scare, their results bloated what is considered to be a normal positivity rate, said district nursing and clinical director Tammy Burdeaux.

“It’s just important that everybody is on the same page and we test who needs to be tested,” Burdeaux said.

Health department officials will test Butler students from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at no charge.

They will return next Thursday and Friday to read the results of the skin tests and advise students on how to proceed.

About 200 people have been tested, and though some tests have come back positive for exposure to the bacteria, no one has tested positive for tuberculosis itself, Burdeaux said.

The results for the initial student in question are still pending, and she has not yet been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Not everyone exposed to the tuberculosis germ becomes sick or develops the disease, Burdeaux said. According to 2010 data, the most recent available, the standard positivity rate for tuberculosis in Richmond County is 15 percent.

“If you went out anywhere, to Walmart or somewhere, 15 percent of the people could test positive,” Burdeaux said.

The next step after a positive skin test is a chest X-ray to see whether the infection spread to the lungs.

Rae Frazier, a 10th-grader at Butler, said she had to receive an X-ray on Friday after testing positive but was given a negative diagnosis for the disease.

Rae said some students have been wearing masks in the hallways and even staged a protest Friday morning, arguing that officials should close the school and decontaminate the buildings.

“It’s scary, and the kids don’t want to get it,” Rae said. “Parents are upset, and I would be, too, because (parents) think they should be doing more. It’s not something you’d want to get.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis is a bacteria that affects the lungs and can be spread through coughing, sneezing or speaking. Its symptoms are a severe cough, fatigue and weight loss.

Dr. Peter Rissing, a professor of medicine and a hospital epidemiologist at Georgia Health Sciences University, said in an earlier interview that for about 90 percent of people exposed to tuberculosis, the body recognizes the infection and contains it in the Ghon’s complex of the lung, where it essentially stops.

For the rest who see the bacteria spread to the lungs, the disease is fought with a series of drugs and is “a very treatable disease.”

About 10,500 cases of tuberculosis were reported in the U.S. in 2011, according to the CDC. Despite its treatability, it is the third-leading cause of death in the world and caused 1.4 million deaths in 2011.
Butler High School Principal Greg Thompson and health department tuberculosis coordinator Kim Taylor-Brown held information sessions for all Butler students about the disease and next week’s testing.

Thompson said it is important for students to get the facts on the issue and to get their consent forms signed by parents so they can be tested.

“Basically, we wanted to give them an update on the situation here at the school and educate them on TB as well as squash any rumors going around,” he said.

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TrulyWorried
16487
Points
TrulyWorried 10/31/12 - 01:36 pm
3
0
Concerning the report on tuberculosis

where in the world did Tracy get these peculiar expressions? "Skewed" the results??? And results "bloated". I learned English from scratch as a second language - but these two expressions are rather peculiar. Does anyone agree???

Tracey McManus
55
Points
Tracey McManus 10/31/12 - 02:36 pm
2
0
words

TrulyWorried, those are the words my sources used to describe the effect on the test results.
They are not uncommon words and are in context, so I used them in the story.

Little Lamb
48976
Points
Little Lamb 10/31/12 - 02:45 pm
2
0
Rate

Here is the problem I have with the story: a "rate" should remain the same despite the size of the sample. If you test 100 students and 15 test positive, then if you test 200 students you would expect to get 30 positives. The rate would be the same for both, i.e., 15 percent. The 30 number is not "bloated" when normalized.

Little Lamb
48976
Points
Little Lamb 10/31/12 - 02:49 pm
2
0
Bloated

They have some data that shows Richmond County citizens show a normal positive skin test rate of 15 percent. Since clinical director Burdeaux said that the Butler rate is "bloated," one must assume that the positive skin test rate at Butler is greater than 15 percent. The next time reporter McManus gets to interview someone at the health department who is involved in this process, she should insist they provide the positive skin test rate in the school.

soapy_725
44111
Points
soapy_725 11/01/12 - 07:05 am
1
0
Yes, lets not use one data point to draw a graph.
Unpublished

Or use the "stop and go" method of testing which ends when you have the results you wanted at the outset.

Are they active cases or simple dormant carriers?

RCBOE has put out a statement the "there is no danger to the public".

Mayor Deke has declared November TB Awareness Month in honor of the Butler Study.

Erin Brokovich will stop by Augusta on her trip to Savannah to have her lungs tested.

George P. Butler H.S. is skewed. So much for social engineering. Where do those social engineers get their degrees? Yes, I remember. Marx and Engels University. MEU MEU MEU

soapy_725
44111
Points
soapy_725 11/01/12 - 07:09 am
2
0
Butler H.S.
Unpublished

1960 - our books went to a school where the principal was named George P. Butler. Ah, the good old days. The only issues were a steel strike, heat and bad cafeteria food.

Fifty year graduating class reunion coming up. First one. What a hoot.

dichotomy
37422
Points
dichotomy 11/01/12 - 09:20 am
2
0
Hmmm, notice they did not say

Hmmm, notice they did not say what the rate of positives they got was.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/01/12 - 10:45 am
2
0
Understanding the False Positive results

I don't fully understand it, but I have to get re-tested differently every time, or x-rays to dismiss the false positive results, that occur using the common TB test method. Many Doctors tell me the reason is I was given a different type of vaccine while in Europe.

Regarding the quote: "About 200 people have been tested, and though some tests have come back positive for exposure to the bacteria, no one has tested positive for tuberculosis itself,"

I can understand it and glad that no TB cases have been found beside the one.

At the same time I still re-state such tests should be required to attend school. Certain Latin America TB strains are immune antibiotics. As we see more pardoned illegals immigrants kids attending schools, we will see an increase of TB cases that are immune to antibiotics.

SeenitBe4 can cite you such cases in the Metro Atlanta area and Gwinnett that parents panicked for weeks after exposure?

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 11/01/12 - 07:19 pm
1
1
The Principal Fail

The Principal fail our children, that's his school and if he was really looking out for those kids then he would have had them to everyone. He still have not had that school told clean down. You along with Mrs Rountree, and other Richmond County Board did a lot of double talk. When you stated that parents could take there child to the health department to be tested when it happen in your school during your time then it mean RC need to pay the bill.

It's sad that these students had to protest to get news, RCBOE, and school staffs to hear there cry of wanting things to be done. I was so proud of them. Well we know the social studies teachers have been doing there job, because they came together to have their voices heard.

If this would have happen at a Day Care center the school would have been close down and everything would have been clean down. Yet, to this day he still hasn't had that school clean down. I feel this wasn't done the right way at all. He didn't protect our children at all. What was done was very lazy. I have seen other principal stand for their students and wouldn't back down at all.

Most militarty children have had the TB test. I don't understand why GA don't make it apart of all the other shots that kids must take each year.

It seem no one wants to say they drop the ball. Why didn't Richmond County PTA Director didn't say anything about it. She always seem to be on the front line for our students and I didn't hear her say one thing about it.

soapy_725
44111
Points
soapy_725 11/02/12 - 06:18 am
1
0
Panic Avoidance and PC
Unpublished

will answer all of the questions. Every child is not forced to get their shots before entering school. Required is just a word. Sort of like auto insurance. If you think this is being done you are with the sheeple. No child left behind involves being "in your desk", every day. Funds are appropriated bases on the number of seats filled for 180 days. If you are one of those parents who has a child with chronic illness absent days you will know. The pressure to have them attend is evident.

Having the desks filled when the doors are open is akin to having all of the pews filled when the doors are open. MONEY

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